SMWS 48.118 Trekking in the jungle

Posted 16 April 2021 by Matt / In Balmenach
The Dramble reviews SMWS 48.118 Trekking in the jungle

Bottle Name: 48.118 Trekking in the jungle

ABV: 60.6%
Distillery: Balmenach
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Flavour Profile: Young & spritely
Region: Speyside Age: 7

First up – Inverhouse’s least promoted distillery within their portfolio – Balmenach. Devoid of an official distillery bottling for over 20 years, but still a reasonably regular sight on the indy bottle scene. This Society release has been matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel for 7 years before being bottled at 60.6%.

Nose: Tart lemon curd and fiery ginger jelly are softened by creamy vanilla parfait and freshly pressed laundry. Crumbled shortbread sits with an assortment of unanticipated aromas – burnt potatoes, boiled onions and plastic wrap. Yep - a bit odd. The addition of water reveals a gentler, more natural focus with honeysuckle and freshly sheared golden barely joined by angelica.

Taste: A big arrival that combined mint fondant icing with immediate pepper and chilli heat. A softer approach develops, encapsulating strawberry foam prawns, chocolate shavings and lemon oils, before the cask kicks back in with metholated oak and a grind of both salt and pepper. Reduction again offers an improvement in balance – gone is the hostile welcome, replaced by a creamy combination of lemon verbena tea, strawberry milkshake powder, malt loaf and Polo mints.

Finish: Medium in length with biting pepper and chilli alongside residual minerality.

This Balmenach is the perfect demonstration as to why cask strength is not the de-facto best manifestation for all whisky. At full strength this is quite aggressively composed – whereas diluted a balance between the distillate and cask is much easier to find. Refreshing reduced, pretty bracing straight up.

Score: 80/100

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