Ballechin, 10 year old (from Edradour)

Edradour is one of those whiskies for me. From first taste of their Natural Cask Strength bottling, I fell in love with what was once the smallest distillery in Scotland, until it was outshrunk by Strathearn. That expression is an Oloroso-cask aged for about 13 years, leaving a sweet, creamy and delicious dram with caramel and dried fruit notes. Hits you with orange peel and Christmas cake.

Edradour also happens to be the oldest working farm distillery and there are some that say being a smaller distillery is actually an advantage. No matter how the economy turns or what challenges you face, you can adapt and move with the market quickly. That certainly seems to be the case for Edradour. She has passed from owner to owner with a fair amount of history and intrigue, but now is shepherded by Andrew Symington, a Master of the Quaich. Edradour continues to make traditional ‘farm whisky’, in addition to some innovative and interesting malts.

One of which is this, the Ballechin 10 year old. Edradour is a typically unpeated malt, so interesting things always happen when you take something standard and mess around with it. The name ‘Ballechin’ is from another distillery from the same area as Edradour, Pitlochry in Perthshire. It’s nice to not lose these names entirely to history.

Colour: Light, pale gold.

Nose: Smoky. Edradour are not just waving the malt over the peat fire, they’ve given it some time and love. It moves to something green and herbal on the nose too.

Palate: Hello grain and smoke. Then it rounds out around the edges, the sweet sugars kick in. At one point, it was almost like tasting a tequila, the sense of agave sugars so present. Then a little sweet almond until the grain comes in. Chewy, like a good sourdough. Nutty and toasty and oaty.

Finish: Long, smoky grains. Like cracking barley between your teeth.

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