Balmenach 1988-2014, 25yo, 54.3% – Signatory Vintage

Balmenach is one of those distilleries that you don’t see many bottlings of. The first one I ever tried was a dirty and slightly rubbery Blackadder bottling, probably about ten years ago. They were put on my map again in one of the Blind Tasting Competitions, where there was a ridiculously strong, eight year old bourbon cask that was amazing.

Ever since I’ve been keeping an eye out for comparable bottlings, but so far I’ve not bought any, even though there have been some. Part of that is a budgetary problem, but also because I don’t normally have the guts (anymore) to buy bottles without having tasted them first.

So when DSA sent me a sample of this I was quite happy. At the time I didn’t know it was a Balmenach, but I was happy to find out it was. Matured in a hogshead for a quarter century, this stuff is bound to be good, right?

A quite straight forward maltiness at first, with some oak. A whiff of lactic acid. So, sourness and slightly buttery. Bladnoch like, so to say. Milky with some stewed apple.

The palate has that slightly funky milkiness with buttery acid. Syrupy and fatty too. Oak, with lots of malt too, dry and slightly sharp.

The finish is more classic and focuses on malty and oaky. A bit sweeter than before but long and rich. Quite beautiful.

Since I tasted this completely blind I had no expectations, but I’m quite happy with this one. A good whisky that’s rather straight forward in a very old fashioned / rustic style. I’m already on the prowl to find one for my collection.

I start enjoying these more rustig kinds of whisky more and more, nowadays. That also translated in there being quite a lot of older whiskies from bourbon casks in my collection than there were a few years ago. I’m not discounting other styles, but this one seems slightly more accessible, and to my liking at the moment. Good stuff, and recommended!


Balmenach 25 years old, 18/10/1988 – 12/08/2014, Hogshead 2819, 54.3%. This used to go for € 149, but it sold out now.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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