...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Ballechin 16 year old 2003 Signatory, cask 186

I matched Monday's whisky with today's whisky for a little head-to-head. Both were sherry casks, have matching ABVs and were bottled by Signatory (which may be more relevant after the rest of this week's reviews). This one will be, temporarily, the oldest Ballechin I've ever tried. Also, its cask is "a Sherry Butt after Islay", which I think means that the sherry cask was employed to mature Islay single malt before it was utilized for this peated Edradour spirit. If not, can someone let me know what those words mean?

Distillery: Edradour
Malt: Ballechin
Ownership: Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co., Ltd.
Bottler: Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co., Ltd.
Region: Highlands (Central)
Age: 16 years (12 Apr 2003 - 4 Oct 2019)
Maturation: "a Sherry Butt after Islay"
Cask #: 186
Outturn: 620 bottles
Exclusive to: Whisky Club Luxembourg and Whisky-Elfen
Alcohol by Volume: 58.9%
(from a bottle split)


Nose - It has plenty of meatiness to it, like yesterday's whisky, but it also has some cherry syrup. Thankfully, some briny beachy stuff survived the maturation process. Smaller notes of pine and smoked almonds remain in the background. It all holds together pretty well. Once the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, the nose shifts towards male musk (it's not me, man!) and bonfire smoke, with apricot and pickle (heehee) brine in the back.

Palate - It's very intense, like Uigeadail on creatine. Huge peat & sweets, mint and jalapeños up front, with wool and good bitterness behind. It starts to shed its sherry cask when reduced to 46%abv. Lots of tangy citrus joins a familiar sooty peat.

Finish - Mostly Ardbeggish peat, with tangy pickled jalapeños and herbal bitterness on the side. It's all limes and soot at 46%abv.


There's no mystery about which Islay malt I think this cask housed previously. It's all very giant, though one rarely finds subtlety in Ballechin stuff. In fact, this butt is even more aggressive than yesterday's. Could have been the extra time. Could have been its Islay predecessor. Or both. To me, the nose works better when the whisky's neat, while the palate feels more balanced when diluted. Though I preferred the 10yo, this is my second favorite Ballechin single sherry cask at the moment.

Availability - Pretty scarce, if not sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87