Balmenach 22 – SMWS (48.24)

Balmenach is a very unknown and unexplored distillery for me. There are almost no official bottlings, apart from some very old ones and a Flora & Fauna edition from 2010. My first one was a Blackadder bottling that I tasted (and a friend of mine bought) some years ago at De Whiskykoning (it’s still available!). Some sherry monster that was!

I can’t really say much about it, apart that it used to be a Diageo distillery (hence the Flora & Fauna edition) and it’s now in hands of Inver House. I’m still hoping they bought some stocks and there will be a Twitter tasting soon. Lukasz?

At the time of drinking this I had absolutely no idea which distillery, age or cask type.


Balmenach Distillery

Image from

Very old fashioned with old apples and a bakery floor. Old crushed grains, flour and dust. Some cinnamon and sugar bread (a Dutch sweet bread with lumps of molten and set sugar in it). Doughnut, pisang goreng and rosemary.

Very gentle which indicates there isn’t that much alcohol left in it. Sweet orchard fruits like ripe pears and soft apples. It does build some strength for a few seconds but never overpowers the pear and apple flavours. Some tropical fruits pop-up and some spices too. Cinnamon, treacle, pancake batter and beer wort.

A pretty long finish but not as special as I expected. Mostly grains and flour. Some bundt cake and a hint of tropical fruit again.

Another unexpected bourbon cask that works its magic on me. The flavour profile of these older hogsheads and barrels is getting more and more appealing over the last year or two. I notice that I’ve been moving away from the really heavily sherried bottles.

A lovely dram, with some really nice flavours on the palate, a pretty awesome nose but the finish isn’t too terrific. Good, but not great.

Balmenach 22, 1988, SMWS, ‘Dried roses and honey on floorboards’, refill ex-bourbon hogshead, 49.3%, no longer available.

4 stars


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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