Sherry cask whiskey is often seen as the gold standard in Scotch whiskey. There are some big whiskey brands that have been forged on the use of ex-sherry casks. Peated whisky also has a big and hardy following, with Islay Scotch leading the way in the peat smoke whiskey game. Sweet and smoke:- two opposites that can certainly work but rarely come together in mainstream Scotch whiskey.
The #IndyScotchWhisky scene is the usual place to find these two elements coming together through the use of cask finishing, re-racking and so on. But there are some brands out there explicitly marrying sherry and peat. Ballechin is the peated arm of the fabulous Edradour Distillery. Combined with the superb Signatory Vintage’s access to sherry casks, we are delighted to bring our own exclusive peated sherry cask Scotch whiskey to the fore: Edradour Ballechin 12 Year Old 2005, refill Sherry Hogshead #160, 61.5%.
Sherry Marries Peat
Following on from our superb Glenlivet 11 Year Old Signatory, we are thrilled to release this Edradour Ballechin exclusive. Distilled 15th August 2005 and bottled 19th July 2018, this 12 year old heavily peated malt was matured in a 2nd fill sherry hogshead #160. Just 291 bottles were yielded exclusively for us at TheWhiskyBarrel.com. As always this is un-chillfiltered, cask strength at 61.5% and of natural colour. And as usual, we have gone for subtlety in the label. And a bold green adds as a nod to the core range Ballechin 1o year old.
Raise a Dram To Taste
On the nose the sweetness takes the lead. Honey and dried herbaceous notes. Sweet pepper and finally some wisps of fire embers. On the palate things change. Sweetness at the front of the tongue is blown away by a blast of smoke – a peaty cloud. Chewy barley reminiscent of Laphraoig. Sweet Sicilian lemon cut across and shrouded by a very pleasant musty warehouse note. The finish is long and lead by a rolling waft of smoke while a touch of sea salted caramel coming in. Sweet to the end.
So, this is a most pleasing dram. It could be harsh with sherry notes or overpowering with peat smoke. But each of these key elements is allowed to show itself and balance each other very nicely. It’s heavily peated Ballechin scotch given a jump with a nicely active sherry cask. As a result, it’s the best of both worlds of Edradour Distillery.