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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Ballechin 17 year old 2004 WhiskySponge, The Spongetopia Trilogy 36B

Full disclosure: I know neither Mr. Whiskyfun nor The WhiskySponge personally, but I was William Teacher in a previous incarnation, which is why I absolutely cannot open up my Ardmore bottles and review them on this site.

With that out of the way, it's time for the second chapter of The Spongetopia Trilogy: Ballechin 36B. 36A was an Islay-ish thingy from a nonintrusive bourbon barrel. The "B" arrives via a refill fino sherry butt.

Distillery: Edradour
Malt: Ballechin
Ownership: Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co., Ltd.
Bottler: WhiskySponge
Region: Highlands (Central)
Age: 17 years (2004 - 2021)
Maturation: refill fino sherry butt
Outturn: 629 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 55.5%
(from a bottle split)


Nose - I get a lot of dry, nutty sherry at first. There are mustard, meat and tennis ball notes that might hint at sulfur, or just may be Ballechin's phenols tussling with the cask's. Smaller notes of melon and toasted seaweed stay in the background. The nose is more aromatic at 46%abv, full of baking spices and dried flowers. Kind of a salty cinnamon custard. Slightly less peaty as well.

Palate - Peat in the front, almonds in the middle, peppery heat in the back. It seems to get younger with each sip, getting sharper, peatier and bitterer with time. It stays spirity once it is reduced to 46%abv. Lots of soot, coal, salt and raw nuts.

Finish - The peatiest part, loaded with soot and salt. Maybe a hint of cassis. It gets bitterer as the whisky Benjamin Buttons. Diluted to 46%abv, the whisky finishes with bitter nuts, soot and barley.


While I appreciate the raw nuts, soot and bitterness, that combination may not be to everyone's liking, which makes this whisky more admirable than many contemporary wine-doped sherry cask releases. Still, the whisky's palate development is hampered by the same rawness. Once again, I enjoyed the nose (neat and diluted) more than the palate. Mr. Opinions found more going on with his pour (possibly from the same bottle), so please see his review for another take. It's tough to come up with a score for this thing.

Availability - It's probably sold out by now, but I'm not sure
Pricing - ???
Rating - 84

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