Ballindalloch Tasting

Tasting three drams, with a very big winner

Last weekend I was invited by Whisky Import Nederland to come to a very special tasting. Arriving at the big St. Laurens Church in Alkmaar, just before the opening of the Hielander Whisky Festival, we were sitting front row to a first presentation of three drams of the Ballindalloch Distillery.
This Distillery, opened in 2015, was bringing out their first whiskies, for the first time!

And I had the opportunity to be there and taste them!
Now, I do not want to fall short on the presentation that was given.
We got a full background on the distillery and their focus on sustainability. The yield out of 1 tonne barley etc. But that I will place in a different blog under the chapter writing. Because this part of the website is about tasting whisky.

So let's do that.
Three drams were offered, each described below.
Now, normally I try to get the best shot of the bottle. But in this case, the labels were not yet on it. All had the big word "SAMPLE" on it.
So, some pictures on this page to set the mood, but the tasting notes are mine! 

The Blended Malt

Only 1200 bottles were made, just for the Benelux. Distilled in 2015 and with a 90/10 devision of whisky on ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, this one is a great starter to introduce Ballindalloch to the taster with a calm 48,5% vol.

On the nose I got some grasses, nuts, some cotton (sounds weird, but if you know, you know!) and some cake. All moving together with fruitier notes like pear and citrus.
The taste is herbal, like dried and green grasses at the same time. Flowers, and some sweeter notes like nectar.

The finish is medium long, it maintains some of the heat and sweetness of the dram. Loving it, but we went on to the next.

Bourbon Cask (on the left)

This whisky, distilled in 2016, was bottled at 59.2% vol.
The color is a golden yellow, going towards straw.  Dancing around my glass it left a nice line with some legs.
On the nose so much vanilla, and the weird part was, it went from musty vanilla powder, to the sweetened vanilla like in ice cream. It also gave some more tropical notes like dragon fruit and nectarine. The sweet note is like honey candy, and even smells a bit like marshmellow. On the nose alone I could have spent an evening!

The taste delivers some hot vanilla, going towards the heat of cinnamon, but also malt and a bit of oatmeal. Some light hints of coconut shavings and a fresh, sweet sour note, like pear drops candy.

The finish is a long one. Flavor notes literally stick to your tongue. Some are sweet, but there is a nutty dominant one. 

Sherry Cask (On the right)

This whisky was distilled in 2015, aged on Oloroso cask and bottled at 60.5% vol. The "heaviest" of the three. But to be honest, I totally did not get that. Where the Bourbon had some 'heat', this one does not have that at all. But I am spoiling a bit.

The nose was a rather nice and mellow sherried nose. You know, everything you want: Raisins, sultanas, raisinbread, autumn leaves and dried fruits. Fig jelly and dates.
The taste was even better: Everything you want in a sherried whisky, but no surpires or too much bitter notes. No wood, no splinters, no dry feeling in the cheeks. Just a very nice dram filled with dried fruits and some mulled wine notes.
The finish was medium long, so shorter than the ex-bourbon, but in a way rounder.

Final judgement

So, three drams of this single estate whisky distillery.
To be honest, I guess that if you read my opinion above, my favorite was the sherried one. And I was enjoying that the longest. But that was because it was the last one in the line-up. For me the winner was the Bourbon Cask edition. It had so much styles of vanilla for me, and those tropical notes on the nose. I wish I had it in my glass right now.

Special thanks goes towards Whisky Import Nederland for inviting me to this special occasion!