The Edradourian Knights Facebook Group managed to snaffle their very own exclusive Whisky Sponge release in the form of this 2005 16 year old Ballechin that has spent its life in an ex-Sauternes barrique. It's a test of faith.
Nose: Relatively crisp and somewhat tricky to define in words which capture what’s going on here. Burnt caramel, dry earthiness and a touch of balsamic. Serrano ham and lighter fluid join cardboard and orange bitters whilst clove and pepper add some spicy support. Reduction results in a thing paper like quality – parchment with plaster of Paris – alongside mixed herbs and red berry fruit tea.
Taste: Fat and oily. Good weight here. Coal dust and BBQ briquettes sit with natural gas, berries, burnt toffee and char. Cardboard and dry earthiness again. Then pepper heads towards ashiness whilst liquorice and leafiness present in the back palate. Water adds considerable dryness with an Underberg herbal-like quality. Hmm. Sticking at 57%.
Finish: Long with eucalyptus and fading bitumen, ash and cough syrup.
All the elements are in place for this to really tickle my particular whisky penchants – but sadly I’m not completely feeling it as a consolidated whole. The deep, burnt, sometimes meaty notes are certainly appealing – but the cardboard and general cask-driven dryness I find distracting. There’s still plenty to like here – particularly at 57% which is as low as I believe this whisky should be imbibed at (and as such a well-judged bottling strength) – but perhaps my expectations were just set too high here?! Then again – it’s a wine cask – and when it comes to those, only the penitent man will pass.
Review sample provided by Decadent Drinks