Ballechin 2004 The Triumph of Influencers

Posted 20 October 2021 by Matt / In Edradour
The Dramble reviews Ballechin 2004 17 year old The Triumph of Influencers

Bottle Name: Ballechin 2004 The Triumph of Influencers

ABV: 55.5%
Distillery: Edradour
Bottler: Whisky Sponge
Region: Highlands Age: 17

The middle chapter of ‘Spongetopia’ is the only edition that is still currently available for purchase. It's a 17 year old Ballechin that’s been fully matured in a refill fino butt that has delivered 623 bottles at 55.5% ABV. The dystopian artwork features an emaciated selection of cookie-cutter whisky ‘influencers’ – presumably reflective of the entirely unnourishing results of spending all of your life photographing closed bottles in places where they don’t belong. (I’ve got another suggestion of where ‘influencers’ could shove their bottles). Those interested will find Edition 36B still available (as of writing) on the Decadent Drinks shop for £137.50.

Nose: Sweet, nutty, slightly saline – so far so fino. Strawberry shrimps, bootlaces and Nesquik milkshake (pink naturally) sit with a subsumed smoke that derives from air-dried meats and tanned leather. Himalayan (pink – lets keen on theme here) rock salt adds seasoning. Entirely pleasant, but fairly narrow in focus. Dilution expresses nut loaf, salted peanuts, wire wool and ozone – not better, just different.

Taste: Here it is. An eruption of sweet, bituminous and voluminous smoke – that was largely masked by the fino on the nose. A punchy delivery of reduced red and black berry jams, leather sofas and roasted cashew nuts, alongside road surfacing, Serrano ham, a selection of medicinal wipes and a Salt Bae arm luge of sodium chloride. The addition of water reveals pickle juice alongside salted chips and a teaspoon of slightly metallic Andrews Liver Salts.

Finish: Long, meaty, washed with iodine and still rather salty.

Despite this being a refill cask, its influence on the spirit is tangible throughout. It’s a particularly active refill – that was likely not used all that long before this second fill. Indeed, in places its impact is somewhat stifling – particularly on the nose, which is 90% fino and not enough Ballechin for my liking. Nevertheless, the palate does deliver the goods – still sherry forward, but rambunctious and expressive from arrival to finish. If you like a thinky-whisky and a salty whisky, this ticks both those boxes – but if you’re looking for width and expansiveness, this might be touch too confined for you. At a lower price, I’d probably jump – it might not be intricate, but it’s still enigmatically tasty.

Review sample provided by Decadent Drinks

Score: 85/100


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