Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

False start on my first meeting with Ballindalloch

Hi there, and welcome back to the Whisky Odyssey blog. We took a week off to recover from the Islay violence on the senses. How about that last salvo eh? An Ardbeg 1974 is not something you drink every day, let alone an Inaugural Release of a brand new Islay distillery. Thank you for the many reactions I received on the social channels! It was a pleasure to write my blogs. We have collected them in one category here on Whisky Odyssey, so you can always easily find them.

On Leap Day 2024 we started this blog, and after a short break we imagined we continue with again a whisky from a brand new distillery (like we did with GlenWyvis before). We are set for tasting of four Ballindalloch expressions soon, organized by Maltfascination. 

Before fellow blogger Sjoerd announced his plans for this tasting, I had already put one bottle in my basket. One of the very first bottles to hit the market here, I thought it was a no-brainer to put a sherried expression on my shelf. Also, something with FOMO about this exciting new distillery.

The estate distillery Ballindalloch is actually not super-supernew. It started distilling in the same year as Ardnamurchan, for instance. Since 2014, the Macpherson-Grant family that actually lives in the neighbouring Ballindalloch Castle has been making some 100.000 litres per year. Distilling is aimed at making a very light and fruity spirit, even though they use the complexity of worm tubs. Check it out when you go visit.

Ballindalloch 2015, 8 years old, bottled at 60,5 % abv

Makeup: Single cask 108 was filled with spirit on 5 March 2015 and bottled 8 years later on 30 January 2024 (we are actually close to a 9 years old here). Some 631 bottles were produced for the market in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg. Maturation in a sherry butt.

General impressions: What is so often the case with these high strength whisky’s is that you don’t get much on the nose, except for burning nostrils. Some glue, not much fruitiness, but finally after some time a warming woodsmoke comes out. Let’s take a first ever sip of Ballindalloch then, undiluted. Well, before the alcohol kicks in we do notice it is a nice and soft classic Speyside we have in the glass. Good news.  But we will quickly move on to adding some drops of water. It can’t help overcome the typical modern wood notes of pencil shavings and a certain nuttiness.

The alcoholic hotness remains so I will add more and more water. Until, finally, I get something that resembles taste. Now it is sweet, lots of fudge and some ripe berries. But the annoying alcohol kick keeps making an unwelcome comeback.

Conclusion: In all honesty, I think it was a mistake to bottle this at cask strength. Even if you want to offer a single malt whisky with lots of oomph, 57 % abv would have done nicely. Besides that, I think this cask was in any case not ready for bottling. It needs at least another 8 years to mellow out. It is a good whisky, mind you, but the potential on this cask will remain untapped. As it stands, I suggest you taste this Ballindalloch after having one of two drams before that, to ease in to it.

Score: 81 points

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