Single malt whisky - tasting notes

13 Oct 2009

Balmenach 1975 (Gordon & MacPhail)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten 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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  • Roberto Sikora: This is really a great, great bottling. One of my favourite Littlemills so far... :-) Thank you, Ruben for this review!
  • george: i see you have tried st magdalene and say it is harder to find i am a collector of st magdalene and i have 40 bottles i am selling these date from 196
  • sjoerd972: I wish the guys at Bushmills would demand the labels to say "Northern Ireland" so we didn't have to speculate on the booze's origins.

Coming up

  • Kininvie 23yo 1990 - Batch 002
  • Bowmore Devil's Casks - Batch 002
  • Tomatin 1988 (Malts of Scotland)
  • Ben Nevis 1997 (Abbey Whisky)
  • Aberfeldy 12 Year Old
  • Blair Athol 2002 (Hepburn's Choice)
  • Fettercairn Fior
  • Bowmore Laimrig 15yo
  • Ben Nevis 2002 (Port cask #334)

1599 notes by Ruben

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