A meal of a dram! Really savoury and rich, in the most satisfying way. The other Ballechins I’ve had have been quite smoky and savoury and medicinal in their own right, but I think the ex-Islay cask used for this bottling really turns those notes up to 11. I think this could easily pass for Laphroaig, and a particularly intense one at that. The rumor is that the cask used for this whisky came from Laphroaig, so I suppose that checks out.
Nose: Rich and pungent! Thick, meaty, earthy, medicinal peat smoke. Grilled pork chop, caramelized onions, soy sauce, and seaweed, along with damp forest floor and muddy musty dunnage warehouse. Mixed fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries (the good ones), sticky dates. Buttery sweet notes of toffee, caramel corn, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, and barley sugar. Black licorice and mild salt.
Palate: Chewy texture. Sweet-savoury and very smoky on the arrival: more soy sauce, lots of tart fruit (cherries, raisins, blood orange). More peat smoke throughout, with iodine, charcoal, and heavy earth in the middle. It does a bit of an earthy-sweet twist into roasted squash and tobacco. Syrupy fruit notes, like tinned peaches, and some tart raspberry jam towards the finish.
Finish: Savoury and earthy. Various roast vegetables, maybe an entire beef stew. Cool clayey mud, seaside pine boughs, extra-dark chocolate, chili pepper, amber maple syrup, and ginger beer. A good bit of spearmint.