Another whisky tasting with The Whisky Wire – go on then! After the thrills and spills of the SMWS tasting we were delighted to be involved with the next in a cracking Autumnal series of Tweet Tastings – a side by side comparison of two Old Ballantruans; the original and the literally just launched 10 year old.
Old Ballatruan is a peated Speysider from Tomintoul distillery bottled at a very generous 50%. Both versions have been matured in refill hogsheads and refill barrels before being vatted together to give a really interesting flavour profile – we were intrigued! Now I’m a massive fan of all things Islay so I was really interested to see how this peated whisky from the other side of Scotland would hold up… Here is what I thought.
Old Ballantruan [50%]
The original version of this peated Speysider from Tomintoul. It is fantastic value at only £30.99 from Master of Malt and in our opinion is a must have dram. It is well balanced while allowing the peat and smoke to have pride of place in the spirit.
Nose: very sweet and smoky, much like freshly cut damp branches being lit on a campfire. There was a slight touch of slightly burnt dark chocolate mixed in with some floral heather. Overall the nose is lovely and meaty and is very much leaving Kennacraig on the way to Islay on a May morning.
Palate: Sightly chewy to begin with before some tobacco leaf notes hit the tongue. The taste is fascinatingly good – reminding me of charred steak combined with a little salted liquorice. It really is sweet and peaty, although not as medicinal as some of the Islay whiskies.
Finish: Long, sweet and salty with touches of freshly barbecued fish.
Old Ballantruan 10 [50%]
The much anticipated 10 year old release of Old Ballantruan. A softer and subtler whisky with flecks of peat and smoke throughout make it a very enjoyable dram.
Nose: Compared to the original this whisky is a lot softer and richer than the original. The peat and smoke hit has been reduced as a result of mellowing in the casks for an extra few years. It was reminiscent of Chardonnay white wine and was certainly very fresh and lively. It was a little different to what I expected after the first whisky but the softness and complexity mixed in with subtle strands of smoke on the nose make it really interesting!
Palate: Very grassy and vegetal to begin with before the oft noted taste of lemon peel arrived, before being followed swiftly be rich lemon cheesecake. There wasn’t as much smoke and peat as anticipated, but gentleness of the flavours intertwining is tantalising.
Finish: Spicy, fruity – invites you to willingly go back for more!
Two very nice whiskies and another fun evening of conversing with friend online. Both whiskies would be welcomed again with open arms but if I was pushed to pick one over the other then I’d go with the original – I loved the smoke and peat kick mixed in with the meaty flavours!
Thanks to Steve and Tomintoul for another great event and we look forward to doing it all again very soon!