Day 20 of the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar – Ballachin 10 year Old

by Evan

Day twenty is here! If you are keeping up in real-time with our 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar, that means Christmas is only five doors days away now. Perhaps you are now slowly becoming more content, as work is done (or nearly done) and your holiday has possibly started. Or conversely, a state of panic might now be activated, as you realize how much shopping for gifts and holiday get-togethers still needs to be done. Maybe you are capable of emotionally multi-tasking and feel both The Dread and The Calm at the same time? That seems to be my personal base level, which I run on 24/7 regardless of the season. Does that make it the norm or am I just a walking and talking contradiction? I don’t really have time to find out, so I will roll with it.

Back to Edradour Distillery for Day 20!

Where was I? Right – what lies in wait for us behind door twenty, just waiting to pounce? Open it up and take a look! We going to Edradour Distillery for the second time this Calendar, but this time we are going peaty with Ballechin 10 Year Old.

Here is a quick refresher from the first time around: Edradour Distillery. Owned by Andrew Symington, who also owns the independent bottler Signatory Vintage. The distillery used to be considered the smallest distillery in Scotland, though with the craft distillery boom, this is no longer the case. Regardless, the distillery attracts more than one hundred thousand tourists every year. The distillery and the people that work there do a very good job of turning these tourists into lovers and ambassadors of the Edradour Single Malt Scotch and Brand.

What I neglected mentioning with the first Edradour bottle that we tasted is that the Distillery produces both unpeated and peated malt. Edradour 10 Year Old, which is arguably the flagship bottle for Edradour, is unpeated in style. When the distillery runs a peated batch, they call the resulting spirit Ballechin. It was given this name by Edradour’s owner Andrew Symington chose for its heavily peated runs of spirit. The Ballechin name was previously used for another distillery that used to reside nearby Edradour, though it closed down for the last time in 1927.

For Ballechin, Edradour Distillery uses malted barley peated to about 50PPM. The first runs of this heavily peated style happened back in 2003, and after a series of limited runs with the Ballechin name attached, the Ballechin 10 Year Old was officially introduced as a regular bottling in 2014.

Another interesting tidbit that I just hinted on in my post for the Edradour 10: The Edradour distillery currently has TWO stillhouses on site. Both are operational as well. The new stillhouse, which is classified as Edradour no2 when the spirit is put into barrel, is in a building that also doubles as a warehouse. I should have asked whether they were running both peated and unpeated runs at the same time when Andrew and I visited in October of this year, but I was too awestruck by everything to be that on the ball.

So how does the heavily-peated Ballechin 10 Year stand up versus the unpeated Edradour 10 Year? Will a favourite emerge? There is only one way to find out!

Ballechin 10 Year Old

This 10 Year Old is the flagship bottle of Edradour Distillery’s heavily peated Ballechin line. It is bottled at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and with no colouring added. Ballechin is peated to a level of 50 PPM, and the 10-year-old is a combination of mostly ex-Bourbon casks with some ex-Oloroso Sherry casks put in the mix just for fun.

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Smoky salami, well-weathered railroad ties, cracked black pepper, earl grey tea, smoked applewood cheddar, a touch of menthol, blackberry jam, banana peel, roasted cashews, burning marshmallows on a campfire, and dark coffee grounds.

Palate: Earthy again but with some nice sweet notes. Roasted malt, milk chocolate, huckleberry pie with a slightly burnt crust and vanilla ice cream on top, earl grey tea but with milk this time, and Oreo Cookies to dunk.

Finish: Chewy and creamy with some earthy smoke sticking around for a long time afterwards.

Comment: Lovely stuff. Rich and deep with a lot of complexity coming from the peat itself, This is big, dense and earthy. If that doesn’t make you shy away, it is time you tried this Single Malt out.

It has been a few years since I have tasted the Ballechin 10 and I am glad this gave me a reason to try it once more. Did you have a preference between the Edradour and Ballechin 10s in the calendar? It could be the season and the colder weather, but I am leaning towards the Ballechin myself right now! Is there more peat to come in the few remaining days? We will find out soon enough!

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*The Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar is produced under license from Secret Spirits, Scotch Whisky Advent Calendarâ„¢
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