Balmenach 23yo 1988/2011 (46%, Mo Òr, Bourbon Hogshead #1150, 440 bottles, 500 ml)

Why not try another Balmenach. Earlier I tried a Bladnoch Forum Balmenach from 1983, this time one by Dutch indie bottlers Mo Òr. A lot of those 1988 Balmenachs are bottled by Gordon & MacPhail and by the SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society). There ís a sister cask around of this Mo Òr bottling. David Stirk (Creative Whisky Company) bottled Refill Bourbon Hogshead #1148 this year.

Color: White wine.

Nose: Wow! Spicy, lively, younger than expected. The cask impaired not a lot of characteristics on the whisky, so this is probably a refill Hogshead as well. Dusty and powdery, very dry, but not woody yet. In the back there is some perfume. Dry leaves and cloves. Toffee with mocha and a hint of lemon soap and late wood. Well maybe the cask was inactive, the whisky shure isn’t. Good balanced nose.

Taste: Sweet from the start, toffee, mocha and a hint of wood. Powdered sugar. Dangerously easy drinkable. Some red cherry candy. But the softness in this is fabulous. Dries out a little that adds to the character. Slightly imbalanced finish due to a shift into the sourness of wood, that doesn’t fit the rest of the palate. Finish isn’t too long.

Very nice whisky. I have to say that this may be another great find after those Ardmore’s. I see that a lot of Balmenachs from 1988, 1989 and 1990 are pretty good! Worth looking into some more. Recommended.

Points: 86

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Balmenach 26yo 1983/2010 (52.8%, Bladnoch Forum, Hogshead #2410, 201 bottles)

After an Inchgower I reviewed earlier, here’s another example from the likes of Raymond Armstrong. If he isn’t distilling his Bladnoch, he’s on the look-out for casks of sometimes unusual distilleries. Worth a look, since he isn’t charging a lot of money for these forum bottlings. By the way, his son, Martin, has even more cask strength single cask whiskies on offer.

Balmenach was licensed in 1824, but existed much longer as an illicit farm distillery called Balminoch. Not earlier than 1992 the first official bottling is released, a 12yo Flora and Fauna. Not long after this United Distillers (now: Diageo) sold Balmenach to Inver House Distillers, with wich came an end to the Flora and Fauna bottling.

The new owners released between 2000 and 2002 only three rare bottles. A 27yo from 1973, a 28yo from 1972 and a 25yo from 1977 celebrating the queens jubilee (still shaped bottle). No more official bottlings have emerged yet. Today Balmenach is owned by Thai Beverages.

Color: Gold

Nose: Sweet and malty. Citrus, oranges with creamy wood and custard. Very powdery and paper like. Clean, what you smell is what you get. Creamy wood is the main part, but nothing overpowering. Candied apricots. Hints of cigarette smoke.

Taste: Spicy wood, sweet and sour. The sweet and sour is fruity. Again candied apricots and bitter lemon peel. Lemon with vanilla. Quite sweet and a lot of wood and bitterness in this one. Warming beer with its hoppy finish.

Actually a quite nice whisky. Fruity, overall likeable, with just one ‘flaw’. It’s quite woody and bitter. Although not overpowering.

Points: 84

Thanx to Erik L. for bringing the bottle!