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Old Ballantruan

Average score from 3 reviews and 9 ratings 82

Old Ballantruan

Product details

  • Brand: Ballantruan
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 50.0%

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Old Ballantruan

Old Ballantruan is the peaty version of Tomintoul, made with peated barley and matured on sherry casks. It is bottled at a nice 50% ABV. There is also a 10 Year Old, but I will try the NAS version.

Malty nose with a medicinal touch. The difference with the Tomintoul Peaty Tang is little, although this one is slightly more fruity. Mirabelles, strawberry jam, nuts and hay. The peat is sweet and offers some green herbs, albeit discrete.

It is powerful and spicy on the palate. Salt and pepper, as well as cloves and ginger. Loads of citrus, now, joining the fruit from the nose. Earty notes. Roots. The medicinal edge is more prominent and the smoke is quite pleasant.

The finish is fairly long and warm with some seaweed and citrus at the death.

Nicely peated whisky from Speyside that can easily hold its own next to peated BenRiach for example. Around 40 EUR which is a very nice price/quality ratio.


The Old Ballantruan is a peated malt produced by the Tomintoul distillery and owes its name to the waters of the Ballantruan Spring, nestling in the Cromdale Hills close to Tomintoul. The NAS version has been around for quite some time, while the new 10 year old has just been released in the UK at The Whisky Exchange show down in London, and now available also on the TWE site. The launch of this new one is the reason we convened for the twitter tasting in the first place. Always cool to be one of the first to try a new malt. What caught my eye immediately was the fact that it’s bottled at 50% ABV, very nice.

Nose: Soap, Mezcal , campfire on a sandy beach, sugar icing, Banana peal,smoke, and a lot of youngish sweet malty sort of stuff.grilled fish too. lovely stuff. Sturdy and manly.

Palate: Dry smoke, earthy and peaty but not medicinal at all. crushed black pepper, with a lot of sweet cereal goodness and Barley sugars popping in.getting earthier and bitter towards the end.A very different palate than Islays, but very nice

Finish : The finish is bitter, with bitter wood, earth, and pepper. some espresso! double espresso, that is.

A very rustic ,earthy dram, manly and rough but in a nice way


This was a bit of a challenge. Before I bought a bottle of this, I had very little whisky experience. I hadn't tried anything above 46%. I hadn't tried anything unchillfiltered. Mostly blends and standard, branded single malts. It's no wonder, then, that I found Old Ballantruan a tad bewildering.

First of all - the nose. This whisky is young. It's well young. Raw alcohol burns the nostrils. There is smoke and there is peat, but they are both in competition with the (still) rather feisty spirit. Water mellows it out considerably. Secondly - the taste. It has a nice oily mouthfeel and a salty and sweet... peaty taste. There's also hints of honey and that medicinal quality that Islay whiskies are famous for. In general, though, the peat isn't Islay peat. It's much darker and earthier in nature. As with the nose, though, it can be quite harsh. And I do mean harsh. It's not intense like a cask strength or even QC Laphroaig. It's plain harsh and vicious. This whisky has a very dark soul indeed. Water calms it down somewhat. And finally - the finish. This is where the whisky truly shines, in my opinion. It's not particularly complex or challenging, but there is an absolutely delightful wave of dry and woody smoke that concludes almost every sip. I have tried my fair share of peaty whiskies, but there is something special about the finish on this one that truly resonates with my rather quirky palate.

This isn't a complex five-star whisky, but, personally, I found its grittiness and vibrant youthfulness... for lack of a better word – endearing.

Also, even though my advice is to add a bit of water to this one, be careful not to add too much. I found that it was quite easy to throw this whisky off balance, and the results were really quite unpleasant.

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