Blind Tasting Competition #10: Balmenach 2003/2012 SMWS
We’re already entering the second half of the Blind Tasting Competition. Sample 10 is an unpeated ex-bourbon cask whisky. And because we’ve had a Highland whisky yesterday, I can at least cross that region of my list. Otherwise I’m completely in the dark today.
Balmenach 2003/2012 (62,7%, Single Malt Whisky Society, C#48.35)
Nose: Very soapy at first, almost perfumy. Then vanilla, cumin, mandarin and orange. Water (and time) also reveal grapefruit and banana. The nose is very closed at first, but give it some time and it will reward you.
Taste: Very peppery. Coconut, orange and citrus. A bit zesty, some spices and also slightly bitter.
Finish: Apple, pepper, cardboard. And then after a long time some caramel.
It starts almost unpleasant, but gets better with time. It ends on a high note with an excellent finish. The problem is, I have no idea from what distillery this is. I finally decide to go with Glein Keith 21yo at 51,5 percent abv.
That turned out to be completely wrong. Balmenach crossed my mind at some point, but only because I considered almost every Speyside distillery. Just the 20 points for the correct region today.
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.