Blind Tasting #4: Ballechin 2004 12 Years Old (Kirsch Whisky)
Still riding the high of yesterday’s good score in the Blind Tasting Competition, I confidently entered my educated guess for sample #4. Not extremely confident, but I thought I had a good chance for another decent number of points. I thought wrong.
When nosing and tasting this whisky, I was transported back to a really nice Port Charlotte that I had reviewed last year. Comparing a sherried, peated whisky to that PC is a big compliment when it comes from me. I didn’t think it was exactly the same, but at least from the same distllery, and from the same type of cask.
Scouring Whiskybase for a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that either this one or this one fitted my hypothesis best. Since I believed the alcohol percentage to be closer to 60 than 55, I picked for the former. Turns out, that wasn’t quite the right choice. Here’s what the whisky turned out to be.
Ballechin 2004 12 Years Old (55,6%, OB for Kirsch Whisky, C#278)
Nose: Aromas of barbecue and smoked peppers, as well as cigar tobacco, soot and leather. Very savoury, plenty of brine, but there’s also some room left for blackcurrants.
Taste: Big on the peat, slightly medicinal, whiffs of iodine. Pinch of black pepper too. The spirit is oily, which I always find a plus. A touch of orange zest and aniseed, as well as some oak. Nicely balanced.
Finish: Drying, with peat, rubber and brine.
A certified bomb of sherry and peat. Proper stuff, and a great pick by the people from Kirsch Whisky. However, it does mean that I only scored 10 points yesterday. I didn’t correctly guess the region, let alone the distillery. I was of too far on the alcohol percentage to grab any points there. The 10 points I did get were for the age.
Well, you can’t win ’em all. Which, I guess, is a phrase that will be fitting for many a day during this competition.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.