Over to the rather traditional Speyside distillery of Balmenach for this 10 year old that has been matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel. Spicy & Sweet profile.
Nose: Toffee apples come through right away – a promising start. Apples are joined by pears and gooseberries alongside butterscotch, fudge, walnuts and almonds. A sweet and slightly savoury affair. Whilst the spirit shines through with a crisp and fresh aromas, there’s some underlying mustiness and muskiness at the edges – almost decayed fruit. Water brings out some light vanilla and hints of liquorice.
Taste: A very juicy arrival that is followed by a very spicy mid-palate. Apples, pears and some damp soils are assaulted by earthy spice – cumin, pepper and hints of chilli – perhaps a bit too much going on here already?! Spice is followed by earthiness – green leaves and freshly brewed tea. A little dilution reduces the spice influence a touch and brings with it oak and touches of vanilla.
Finish: Short to medium and still very spicy – black pepper and chilli – there’s some tannins here licking around my teeth….and also a touch of rawness too.
A rather confusing Balmenach that commences with solid sweet fruitness, but quickly devolves into an morass of spiciness. It’s certainly bold and flavourful, but to my palate is lacking balance – the spiciness running amok over any subtleties once in the mouth.