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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Balmenach 12 year old 1975 SMWS 48.1

Balmenach is distillery #48 in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's library. And ".1" means, yes, this was SMWS's first Balmenach, bottled back when SMWS was using their charming generic labels, before the "charming" cask names were introduced. Monday's 1970s Balmenach was a malty, sturdy thing at 43%abv. I'm curious to sniff a full-powered version from this era. Here it goes:

pic from whiskybase
Distillery: Balmenach
Ownership at time of distillation: United Distillers (proto-Diageo)
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 12 years (March 1975 - October 1987)
Maturation: ???
Cask: 48.1
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 55.2%
(from a bottle split)


The nose is all raw seeds, raw nuts and apple cider at first. Then Delirium Tremens (the Belgian ale, not the syndrome) rises from the middle, followed by pumpkin pie and a touch of hay. The palate leads with a perky bitterness, like bitter citrus, followed by sea salt and barley, with hints of hay and halvah in the background. It finishes bitter and tangy, with moments of barley, hay and ash.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose is yeasty and malty, with notes of cashews, mushrooms, saline and apple cider. The citrus becomes sweeter in the palate, and the bitterness reads herbal. Raw almonds and sativa flower float in the  midground. The finish stays similar, perhaps slightly sweeter and nuttier.


Another Balmenach in the buff, and another good one. Like the 14yo Sesante, this 12yo has apple cider and raw nut notes, as well as something nearly peated, but this one is slightly more to my liking. The notes of DT, cashews and sativa certainly don't hurt, but the gentle farminess puts it over the top. This would be a fun bottle to possess because time and different dilution levels may bring out even better results.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87

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