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Pitlochry Distilleries, Edradour and BlairAthol

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@wtrstrnghlt
wtrstrnghlt started a discussion

In August my parents are going to Schotland for a couple of day's because the are invited to a wedding. They are staying near Pitlochry.

Now they're no Whisky lovers like myself, but when in Schotland why not visit a distillery they thought. And of course they offered me to bring back a nice Single Malt.

So now I'm stuck with the question: which one?! As I can only chose one (or two :) maybe)

There are two distilleries close to Pitlochry (they did that on purpose to make it more difficult for me, I'm sure). But both are small, lesser known and not widely available. Which is nice, because that makes it more interesting for my cabinet.

The distilleries are Blair Athol and Edradour.  My criteria is that it should be a Whisky of great quality (of course), preferably non chill filtered and no caramel added. It can be cask strength, but this is less important to me. It should either be a big flavored Whisky or a nice subtile one, either way it can't be shallow.

At last it would be obvious that it would be a Distillery Only bottle.

Can anyone help me solve this 'dillemma' with some recommendations.

10 years ago

19 replies

@NAV26
NAV26 replied

@wtrstrnghlt

I haven't tried bottles of either but I have expressions from both distilleries waiting in one of my caches. Blair Athol seems very obscure. Did you know that Edradour produces a peated single malt called Ballechin. It tends to score higher (high 80s) with the critiques then regular Edradour (70s to low 80s). From Markjedi's reviews the wine finishes don't tend to do so well with the non-peated Edradour

10 years ago 0

@wtrstrnghlt
wtrstrnghlt replied

@NAV26 the Ballechin '5th Release' Marsala Cask caught my attention indeed. At this moment it would be my choice.

I see you have a Blair Athol in your very impressive cabinet. But I understand you didn't have had the chance to try it yet. I can find very few and mixed reviews of both distilleries.

10 years ago 0

@NAV26
NAV26 replied

@wtrstrnghlt

The Ballechins aged in fortified wine casks all seem to score in the high 80s, and have full flavored descriptions by experts. You seem to like the peaty full flavor malts so Ballechin expression along these lines might be the way to go. Not sure what the selection is going to be at the distillery, but let me know what you get and what you think of it.

I actually have 3 cabinets, 1 here in Monrovia with 12-15 pretty much standard readily available bottles, 1 in Yaoundé with 12-15 pretty much standard readily available bottles, and another cache in the US where the gems are. Unfortunately the last cabinet is where I have the 12 year old Blair Athol and Ballechin #4 Port Cask. If I was there I would definitely open up the Ballechin and 200 ml Blair Athol and let you know what I thought.

10 years ago 0

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

In my opinion, the problem with Edradour is that their quality can fluctuate greatly. I have had some very good ones and some not so good. Blair Athol should at least be more consistent with the quality of the whisky. I have owned several Edradours and my favorite was one that I picked up at the distillery. It was their "straight from the cask" 10 year (ex-bourbon cask), 500 ml bottle in a wooden "crate" (as in shipping crate) case. Great packaging! The whisky was "chewy" and "meaty". Everyone I shared it with loved it. I haven't been as lucky with other Edradours; not bad, just not great.

The Ballechin I owned (#4 Oloroso Sherry) was not good (rubbery taste). I haven't had any others in that series.

I didn't know what to expect from Blair Athol, but was pleasantly surprised. They had a distillery only cask strength bottling that I was really interested in, but since it was near the end of our trip I was already maxed out on what I could bring back, so I didn't purchase it. I have since owned a Signatory bottling of Blair Athol 12 and it was good, but not nearly as good at what I tasted at the distillery.

Here's a list of what I have owned from these two distilleries and my personal High, Medium or Low rating;

Edradour 10 year (Medium)

Edradour 10 year Un-Chill Filtered Signatory Cask #166 Bottle #79 of 428 (Medium)

Edradour 10 year "Straight from the Cask" (High)

Ballechin (by Edradour) Discovery Series #4 - Oloroso Sherry Casks - Heavily Peated (Low)

Blair Athol 12 year (1999) Signatory Vintage bottling-Cask #776-Dstl'd 2/3/99-Btl'd 9/1/11 (Medium)

I hope some of this helps you. Let me know what you get and what you think of it.

Cheers!

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@CanadianNinja

@wtrstrnghlt, personally I would recommend a bottle of Edradour. I really like their 10 yo, a very nice whisky in my opinion. As @bwmccoy has mentioned there may be an issue with consistency, I really don't know myself. I would very much like to pick up the 'straight from the cask' sometime.

10 years ago 0

@Abunadhman
Abunadhman replied

A few years ago, (2007?), I purchased a Cask Strength Edradour in the lovely round Decanter from the Distillery: It was incredible but I'm not sure of its' provenance, for even though purchased at the Edradour shop, it has a large round Signatory sticker on the back; more than likely it was an especially good cask that Signatory bottled (?). Also, in the same display cabinet were several bottles at Cask Strength that had been finished in Chateau d'Yquem Casks and were on tasting, in the bottom shop, and we did but then opted for the Cask in the Decanter. The d'Yquem finish was rather expensive which you would expect, but it was superb!

10 years ago 0

@Onlyhalfmad
Onlyhalfmad replied

@A'bunadhman they are both owned by the same people which probably explains the sticker.

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

@wtrstrnghlt
wtrstrnghlt replied

Thanks for all your suggestions. Both the Ballechin and a cask strength Edradour sound pretty promising.

@NAV26 indeed I do love peat. I think peat could be a good combination with the sweetness of Port or Marsala. Although I've had my best peaty experience with the 'in your face' Laphroaigh 10y until now.

@bwmccoy it's a shame your bottle of Ballechin wasn't what you expected. Could it be that you and @a'bunadhman are talking about the same "Straight from the Cask" or "Natural Cask" range that @onlyhalfmad provided in his link?

The three of you made me pretty enthusiastic about such a bottle.

Looks like I might end up with two after all. What would be the cost of these bottles, money wise.

Thanks again!

10 years ago 0

@Onlyhalfmad
Onlyhalfmad replied

@wtrstrnghlt I have just picked up a bottle from cask 229 for £52 but you are probably going to be nearer £60.

Not sure about the similarity between bottles, but if i could i would fill my own. Quite often they let the person buying have a wee taste or at least they do at other distillery's.

10 years ago 0

@wtrstrnghlt
wtrstrnghlt replied

@Onlyhalfmad Argh! I should go myself... I'm afraid my folks won't be able to judge the quality other then: "O, that's strong" :)

The price seems fair, since all of you are quite positive. I'll take the chance. In the worst case I'm stuck with a nice decanter bottle.

10 years ago 0

@Abunadhman
Abunadhman replied

@Onlyhalfmad: Not at Edradour do you get a free taste! You can taste the full range but have to pay - IIRC, the d'Yquem finish was about 10 pounds a nip, it was a more than generous pour, though. That was then, things may have changed.

10 years ago 0

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@wtrstrnghlt - the one I owned is different than the one @onlyhalf,ad is talking about, even though his sounds amazing as well! Here is a link to one similar to the one I purchased.

masterofmalt.com/whiskies/edradour/…

By the way, I said in my original post that my straight from the cask was ex-bourbon... My memory is failing me... It was a Sherry cask. Sorry.

I hope that what ever you decide to get , you are pleased with it!

10 years ago 0

@wtrstrnghlt
wtrstrnghlt replied

So my parent are off to Scotland. They are going to visit the Edradour distillery and hopefully they will bring me back some Whisky.

I did some research and thanks to your advice I asked if they would look for Ballechin batch 5, Marsala Cask, or Edradour Natural Cask Strenght batch 2, or both :)

Now just wait and see when they get home.

10 years ago 0

@Pandemonium
Pandemonium replied

Only visited the Blair Athol distillery while I was in Pitlochry, this is actually a pretty big distillery, as it is one of the main ingredients for Bells' blends. It was a cold rainy day 2 days before x-mas, and I was the only visitor. After a tasting I decided to pick up one of their 12 yo. It's a rather obscure single malt, but a great adition to your cabinet and it really comes to life with a few drops of water

10 years ago 0

@jasonbstanding

It's probably too late now to be of use, but one huge benefit of going to Edradour is that - as mentioned here - they're owned by the same ppl who own Signatory, so in the distillery shop there's also a ripping selection of Signatory bottlings (all ranges).

Last time I was up there I picked up a 1991 Cambus single cask, and a 20yo Highland Park for great prices!

Although, I guess I'd find it hard explaining to my parents what to buy under that arrangement.

10 years ago 0

@wtrstrnghlt
wtrstrnghlt replied

So here is an update!

My parents got home last weekend and we had dinner together on Sunday. My father bought 2 bottles at Edradour, after they had a nice tour at the distillery. He was very enthusiastic about it. I have seen the Ralfy YouTube video about the Springbank distillery and their stories were comparable. A lot work they do at the distillery itself. Almost everything, although I don't know about the bottling itself. The grain comes from somewhere else for sure.

When he pointed out the 2 bottles in the shop, the guy was quite impressed. My father told him it was for his son and the guy answered: "then he really knows his Whisky".

I really liked that comment. Because it also impressed my parents. But what neither of them knew was that I got this info from you guys :)

So what did he get me? The Ballechin #5 Marsala Cask and the Natural Cask Strenght 4th edition.

The only catch was that I could only chose one bottle. He wanted to keep the other one at their home, so we can also enjoy a nice dram when I'm over for a visit. No problem!

So we tasted them both, to decide who would get which bottle.

First the Cask Strenght. This is matured in bourbon barrels, it's a nice smooth Whisky. Complex, but not to heavy. I could drink it neat easily and enjoyed it very much. Comes in a nice decanter bottle also.

Then the Ballechin. Heavily peated, the farmy kind. No Laphroaigh 10, but Caol Ila Moch. It's a young Whisky, but that's ok when it comes to peat. The Marsala Cask is a nice addition, gives it a nice 'desert wine' touch to it. But not to sweet for my liking. It also masked the young age.

My father never tasted a peated Whisky and although he didn't say it, I could notice he didn't like it very much. He thought the nose was like a cleaning product. The other one was a winner though, so he took that one back home. A good choice I think, also because its a nice bottle to put on display. But then I told him it was better to keep it out of he sun and in the box :)

I'm very glad with the bottles he brought back. Both excellent whisky's. I now know they also had the Signatory bottles in the shop, but I think it would have been to difficult to explain which one to choose, when I don't know which bottles are available there.

Must go there myself one day to find out I guess.

Thank you all again for the advice. I worked out very good. And when you are in Holland, come and have a dram of the Ballechin.

10 years ago 0

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@wtrstrnghlt - Glad to hear that you are pleased with both bottles. Thanks for letting us know the results.

10 years ago 0

@NAV26
NAV26 replied

@wtrstrnghlt thanks for the update. I am glad your parents enjoyed the visit and that you both are happy with the choices.

10 years ago 0