The Surgeons Ball is one third of bottler/cask trader Edinburgh Whisky’s New Town Collection. Named after the largest complete example of Georgian town planning in the world – Edinburgh New Town was approved in 1767 (the whisky marketing materials list 1952 – but what’s a few years between friends?!) and constructed in phases up until 1850. Built as a result of the Scottish Enlightenment and as a solution to overcrowding, the development included a grid-style pattern with street names chosen from both monastic and Union references (Queen Street, George Street and Princes Street).
The Surgeon’s Ball is described as “a blend of peated Highland malt”. It’s bottled at 46% ABV, and you can currently purchase it directly from Edinburgh Whisky for the discounted price of £27.30.
Nose: Smoke-forward and with a prominent meaty quality. Smouldering pine trees and burnt dried grasses sit with sweet tarriness and notes of BBQ ribs and smoked studded ham roast. Bakery aromas support with scones, muffins and pancakes joined by background of vanilla, toffee and delicate limestone minerality. Dilution offers chocolate dipped waffled together with maple bacon.
Taste: A lightly bodied arrival that still packs plenty of peaty punch. Burning potting sheds and asides of medicinal wipes are tempted by whipped cream and vanilla crème patisserie, whilst tart lemon and orange (St Clements) mingles with a background of hot chocolate, oils and greases and charred staves. The addition of water results in a rapid loss of coherence – everything becoming simply vaguely sweet. 46% only for this one.
Finish: Medium to long. Candied sweetness with pronounced earthy peatiness.
The Surgeons Ball’s heavy Ardmore component runs throughout out its entire profile – and serves it well if younger spirit from this Highland distillery is your jam. It’s perhaps a little too sweetly composed and loses structure at anything other than its bottled ABV, but barring that works well enough and comes at an asking price which doesn’t rule it out for mixing either.
Review sample sent on behalf of Edinburgh Whisky.