Edradour has released a few interesting whiskies in months past. I’ll save the new Oloroso sherry matured edition for now (but soon though). Instead, today the centre stage is reserved for the Ballechin 18 Years Cask Strength Batch 1.
Ballechin is Edradour’s heavily peated spirit, and it has been gaining traction for a good while now, I might add. While I haven’t reviewed any Ballechin for a long time, other reviewers have been singing its praises.
Heavily peated spirit wasn’t produced at Edradour until after Andrew Symington of Signatory Vintage acquired the distillery from Pernod Ricard. The first-ever peated spirit run took place in 2003, followed by the first Ballechin in 2006.
Edradour has come far since then. Inconsistency used to plague the distillery, and especially early batches of the Edradour 10 Years were always a gamble. Now the distillery has become somewhat of a cult favourite amongst certain parts of the whisky drinking crowd.
The new Ballechin 18 Years Cask Strength Batch 1 is one of the oldest Ballechin to have been bottled so far. I expected more of a fuss when it was released, but haven’t really noticed much chatter on socials. Thus it’s still easily available, even though it’s truly good (I think) and priced relatively fairly.
Ballechin 18 Years Cask Strength Batch 1 (50.9%, OB, 2023)
Nose: Some nice waxes and oils, but then it opens up on notes of almonds, honey-glazed cereal and earthy, almost farmy peat. This is followed by a touch of stucco, some iodine and fragrant herbs, such as thyme. Hiding in the background is some citrus (think charred lemon peel) and smoked hay. Taste: Some wax, pollen and a good amount of citrus, mostly lime but also lemon. Just a little tar too, while the peat is very well-integrated. Hints of green tea, a whisper of ginger, some cracked black pepper corns, and menthol. Maybe a pinch of salt too, while water opens up a sweeter flavour profile. Finish: Long with smoked barley husks, honey and citrus zest.
An interesting mixture of mainland peat with coastal influences. I'm not pretending to know what style of peat was actually used, but that's my takeaway. Whichever the case, this is a high-level, mature peated whisky at cask strength for a price that doesn't immediately scare you away.