Archive for the ‘Balmenach’ Category

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Balmenach 2001 (14 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OMC2533/ HL12129

Dist: Nov 2001 Btl: Nov 2015/ Tasted: Jan 2016

Full and sweet on the nose with barley, rose water, vanilla along with hints of apricot, gooseberry and a slightly mentholated herbal note.

Full and nutty on the palate with vanilla, apricot and herbal notes. Very deep and robust with a light citric note emerging on the middle. Long and delicately spiced with lingering vanilla, straw and nuts.


Douglas Laing Directors Cut Balmenach 1983 (30 year old) 52.8%

Bourbon/ Code:DIR0066/ Dist: Sept 83 Btl: Jan 14/ Tasted: Feb 14

A pungent, mature nose of oily barley, lemon grass flecked light honey, summer flowers and powdered/ Sugary barley. The dusty but sweet oak is balanced by some crisp lemon which adds freshness.

The palate is oily and mature with moderated, fleshy apricot plus hints if malt extract and treacle. Quite spicy and edgy in the middle with a touch if oak. Good finish with black pepper, cardamom, some drying tannins and lingering malt.


Douglas Laing Provenance Balmenach 2007 (10 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV1262/ Dist: Mar 2007 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: May 2017

Aromas of digestive biscuits and floral banana. Hints of pear, barley and shaving soap follow. With time a touch of lime and vanilla appears.

The palate show a touch more oak, but still not a huge amount! Fruity, like the nose with again a slight soapiness and sweet barley. Medium length with a camomile soap finish. I’m sorry but I’m not a fan of that finish!

A.D Rattray Balmenach 2010 (7 year old) 57.5%

Aged in Bourbon Hogshead 11, re-racked into Sherry Hogshead 333693

Dist: 2010 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

The sherry hoggy has given the nose a very botanical feel with aromas of liquorice root and juniper. Hints of malt, cereal and wine vinegar. A little rough, but pleasantly malty.

Full, malty and cereally with hints of toasted oak, liquorice root, subtle treacle, baked fruit and herbal, rye-like notes. Long, botanical finish with lingering juniper and dry spice.

Water emphasises the malt and dried fruit on the nose and lessens the herbal intensity. It doesn’t make much of a change to the palate, possibly brining out a light minerality in the finish.

Dewar Rattray Balmenach 1983 (28 year old) 54.5%

Bourbon cask 2413/ Dist: 1983 Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2012

Oh what a nose! Deep and moist with plenty of sawdusty oak along with a splash of honey. Mature, yet edgy soft fruit mingles with coffee, liquorice. Beautifully balanced a fresh edge to the aromas with some herbal moments too! With time a touch of lavender and violet appears, but those wonderful mature oak aromas envelope and bind, but it never becomes over oaked.

Softly oiled and like the nose it opens with the sawdusty oak and crushed, fleshy fruit. Light spices, demerara sugar and herbal notes join in on the middle. Superbly deep and succulent, although the dry alcohol does mask the finish a bit as does some late dry wood notes. I’m expecting this to shine with a drop of water.

And I was right. Diluted the nose now displays a wonderful perfumed orange note. It’s incredibly light and ethereal now! Pure liquid heaven with a shot of toasted Java coffee and moist, mature honey. On the palate it’s spices to the front! Still juicy and maybe a tad less intense but wonderfully soft and lingering. A delightful mouthful of light honey and oak.

Dewar Rattray Balmenach 1983 (30 year old) 51.2%

Bourbon Cask 2409/ Dist: 1983 Btl: 2013/ Tasted: Oct 2013

The aromas are dark, grainy and malty with a slight balsamic note and no shortage of edgy, earthy, coffee-spice, dark roasted nuts and old oak. A little honey begins to emerge along with some lightly sawdusty oak and toffee.

The palate is mature, edgy, grainy and lightly spicy with dark, malty fruit along with hints of treacle and lightly medicinal herbs. It gets pretty bitter towards the middle as the old wood, spice and 90% cocoa notes kick in, however the coffee accented treacle balances it out pleasantly, well just about. Long and malty with the treacle/ coffee axis coating the mouth and leaving a lovely dark chocolate after-taste.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Balmenach 2002 (10 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV1028/ Dist: Nov 2002 Btl: July 2013/ Tasted: Aug 2013

An earthy, dunnagey, manurey nose of cereal, apricot and white flowers. The cereal notes are pretty intense and a little soapy with a late hint of white liquorice. 

The palate is earthy with stewed fruit and a touch of vanilla. Relatively straightforward with hints of grass and salt in the finish along with a light agave-esque note.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Balmenach 2000 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0754/ Dist Nov 2000 Btl: Dec 2011/ Tasted: Dec 2011

The nose is quite gristy and dusty with hints of diesel oil and no end of burnt caramel. Slightly industrial in character with hints of youthful, citrus and spicy tequila-esque notes. 

The palate is quite oily and a touch on the industrial side. Hard as nails barley is liberally dusted with icing sugar and spices, which tries hard to balance out that industrial character. Short with a fleshy white fruit finish.

Speyside Distillery Private Cellar Balmenach 1979 (27 year old) 46%

Dist: 1979 Btl 2006/ Tasted: Sept 2006

A hard granity nose. Immensely fruity – tangerine and orange marmalade. Very juicy and dripping with oodles of mature honey. It really is a malty, fruit monster, with deft touches of spice. Dry on the palate and quite slow to develop. I’m afraid that the palate fails to live up to the promise of the nose. It’s hard, short and alcohol dominated with only a suggestion of the fruit and spice found on the nose. Overall disappointing.

Hart Brothers Balmenach 1979 (18 years old) 43%

Dist: 1979 Btl: Feb 2004/ Tasted: July 2005

An extremely rich and oily nose. Fruit aromas mingle with nuts, Bourbon oak, spirit and a touch of earthiness. Soft on the palate with layers of fruit, gentle Bourbon oak, earth and a touch of peat. Lovely, rich and smooth with a long tangy finish with hints of earth/peat.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Balmenach 1983 (27 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2034/ Dist Sept 1983 Btl: June 2011/ Tasted: June 2011

A lightly, spirity, almost grainy nose. The old wood notes – coffee and burnt caramel subdue the light, juicy orange fruit. Wood 1 Spirit 0!!! If you sniff hard enough one can detect some lovely brittle honey but you have to sniff so hard that you feel that your nose is going to turn inside out. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh and it does become quite floral with time. Maybe the palate will be its redemption?

Ah, well, no! It’s gentle and juicy, albeit it briefly before in wades the bitter/ burnt cocoa oak. There’s some floral spirit but it’s undistinguishable and becomes rather spirity. Old and dried out.

Bladnoch Forum Balmenach 1983 (26 year old) 52.8%

Bourbon Hogshead 2410/ Dist: 1983 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: Nov 2010

An oily and slightly pungent nose of floral scented mature honey along with some old rose petal notes. Over time it becomes liberally sprinkled with pure icing sugar and the oak begins to express itself with a crème caramel note. Superb balance between the oak and spirit.

Lightly oily on the palate with a touch of treacle, light coffee, tar and manure along with the sugar coated mature honey (sounds odd but is quite pleasant!) Mouth watering alcohol clears the way for some old botanicals and a sharp, dry finish. Intriguing!

Water brings out some oily marzipan and the oak grips a little more now, although that is balanced by a fresh edge. The palate is softer and sweeter with some marzipan, rose water and crumbly spices. Definitely mature but still lively. Quite charming.