Ballechin is the lesser known, peaty brother of Edradour. Whatever bottler you see on the label, obviously the casks come from Signatory, as this company run by Andrew Symington, owns the Edradour distillery. This 11 years old malt from 2005 was bottled by the Dutch company van Wees at a whopping 59.9%. Where is my water?
The nose is immediately – as it should be with Ballechin – quite dirty, if you know what I mean. Earthy notes, fatty peat with a sour touch, plant roots with some oak, vanilla and liquorice. Then, under the surface, some almonds, breakfast cereals and a hint of mint and citrus fruit appears. Molded wood and a touch of smoke. Leave it to breath and it will become a lot sweeter.
It is surprisingly soft of its ABV and immediately very sweet and creamy. But that is just the first appearance. A false start, maybe? Because after just a moment it explodes on the palate with a big spiciness and peatiness. Very herbal and green on barley sugar, soft oaky notes and white pepper, ginger, liquorice and some vanilla. Ashes and peat conquer the palate. The only fruit I get now is lime.
The finish is very long and returns to the sweet side in the guise of milk chocolate. But the smoke lingers. Some menthol at the death.
Sip this after 8pm (got it?). Thanks, Anthony!