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Friday, January 21, 2022

Ballechin 15 year old 2005 WhiskySponge, The Spongetopia Trilogy 36C

Viewing one single malt from three angles is a cool idea, and I hope there are more Spongetopia Trilogies, even though this one didn't knock me over to the degree I'd thought it would. Perhaps your mileage may vary.

Ballechin 36A was from a first-fill bourbon barrel.
Ballechin 36B was from a refill fino butt.
Ballechin 36C, today's whisky, was from a second-fill sherry hogshead.

Distillery: Edradour
Malt: Ballechin
Ownership: Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co., Ltd.
Bottler: WhiskySponge
Region: Highlands (Central)
Age: 15 years (2005 - 2021)
Maturation: second-fill sherry hogshead
Outturn: 266 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.3%
(from a bottle split)


Nose - Like 36B, 36C has no generic sherried scotch notes in the nose. A variety of fresh herbs (mint, thyme and chives) mixes with a peat that's earthier than the other two trilogy members. I get baked fish rather than smoked fish. A hint of beef stock lingers. It reads bigger once reduced to 46%abv, becoming more of a dessert whisky, with almond extract, smoky toffee, earth, sandalwood incense and a little bit of brine.

Palate - This is one of those second-fill sherry hoggies that reads like a first-fill, turning the palate into the nose's antithesis. Lots of dried vine fruits mix with tannins and peppery heat. A bitter-ish smoke joins the nose's sandalwood note. It gets nuttier at 46%abv, also picking up more salt and tangy citrus to go with the sandalwood.

Finish - I find pepper, salt, wood smoke, metal and raw cocoa here. At 46%abv, the finish matches the palate.


The nose tops the palate quite a bit, again, three for three. Water helps push the edgy tannins back, coaxing out the incense note that I like, bringing the palate into focus. Even though I tried the trilogy side-by-side-by-side, I'm not sure how to rank them as they all fit into the 84-86 point window. Perhaps I'd reach for the bourbon cask one first, but it doesn't topple the 10 year old I reviewed on Monday. If you've tried the whole Trilogy and have a different take on the whiskies, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85 (with water)