Single malt whisky - tasting notes

13 Oct 2009

Balmenach 1975 (Gordon & MacPhail)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Balmenach

Balmenach is a little-know Speyside distillery. It was mothballed in 1993 and changed owners in 1997. Production was restarted with traditional machinery and methods. As there’s no official (old) stock, only independent bottlers can release bottlings at this moment.

This Balmenach 1975 was matured in first fill sherry casks. It was distilled in April 1975 and bottled by G&M in its Connoisseurs Choice range.

Balmenach 1975 / 2007 (G&M) Balmenach 31yo 1975
(43%, Gordon & MacPhail 2007)

Nose: special. A sherry profile but quite unique. Earthy, with notes of hay and a fern forest. Nuts. Something of soy sauce. Apples. Coffee. Some heather. Rather strange, quite herbal, with interesting notes of pine needles! Very complex really. Mouth: oily mouth-feel but slightly underpowered at 43%. Big notes of dried fruits (figs, raisins), candied orange peel, very dark chocolate. Hints of roasted nuts / smoke as well. Some banana. Ginger. Rich and intense. Finish: very long, very sherried. A pinch of salt in the aftertaste. Excellent espresso.

This Balmenach feels old, in a good way. Well, it is old of course… but first fill sherried whisky at this age is not always drinkable. This one doesn’t have that problem and the result is intense, old-school sherry. A contemplative whisky that would have been even better at 46% or cask strength. Some bottles left at around € 90.

Score: 89/100

Balmenach 1975 (Gordon & MacPhail) 4 Ruben Luyten 2009-10-13

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  • Tony: I wonder if the rest of the cask is the TWE 1981 just released with no cask number (and a similar though not identical strength)...
  • john marrinan: That is true, but to all intents and purposes a score of 87 is the same as a score of 90. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the maniacs scored it the
  • WhiskyNotes: It's not so much a matter of trusting a score as it is a matter of being able to relate to it.

Coming up

  • Miltonduff 2005 (DT #837112)
  • Clynelish 1997 (Liquid Art)
  • Clynelish 1997 (Whisky Mercenary)
  • Clynelish 1997 (Maltbarn)
  • Laphroaig An Cuan Mor
  • Fettercairn 1990 (Liquid Library)
  • Yamazaki 12 Year Old
  • Tomatin 1997 (Liquid Library)

1734 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.