Expectations were high for this tasting, the 24yo I have is divine, and the 13yo I tried last year at a tasting was exceptional. So here's the list of what we had, my notes, scoring and comments.
10yo 40% natural colour: this is their bottom of the range which I hadn't tried. Light nose, butterscotch, sweet, white wine notes. Taste: sweet, liquourice, smooth, clean, very short finish. 5/10
Ballechin 46% Series 1 2002-2006 50ppm phenol Fresh red Burgundy casks, no chill/colour: Nose: smokey, bacon, rubber, phenol, big!! Taste: salty/phenol Finish: peaty, very long 7/10
Straight from the Cask 11yo 58.6% Hogshead 21/1/96-4/5/06 Cotes De Provence 4/5/06-30/4/07: Nose: red wine, big, high alc., older more complex Palate: cask str., gorgeous, sweet, caramel, sherry Finish: sherry, long 9/10
Straight from the Cask 10yo 58.8% Sherry butt #84 25/2/97 - 15/1/08: Nose: red wine, caramel cream Palate: interesting, sweet, inc alc, spicey, Finish: big long smooth 8.5/10
Edradour Cream Liqueur: I'd had this at the distillery with Neil, as we figured we'd be hitting the tasting room for the 'good stuff' later, so why not try something different. And it's very good. I prefer it to Bailey's, it's got more going on. Bit hard to rate in comparison with whisky, but on it's own 7/10? It is very very drinkable.
Ballechin 46% Series 2 2002-2007 50ppm phenol Fresh Madeira Puncheons no chill/colour: Nose: rubber, peat, bacon, smokey, cask str. Palate: phenol, very light taste Finish: nothing 5/10
1994 7/6/94-17/12/07 cask 272 56.3% decanter 510/774: Nose: caramel, dark, sherry, dusty, age Palate: caramel, red wine, gorgeous, buttery, very complex, muscatels, incr alc. Finish: long so very long 9.5/10
Definitely worth the cheap entry price ($50) mainly as they didn't have any of the 24yo's which are the expensive buggers. I was very disappointed with the Ballechin's which have been hyped a bit. Nick and I chatted about it and we both felt they lacked age, the phenol was too dominant and overpowering any complexity that may be hidden in there. Given they are only 4 and 5 years old it might be worth waiting til they release a 8-10yo? the SFTC range is, as usual, wonderful - and a bit cheaper as they come in 500ml bottles, in an attractive wooden box. I've had a couple of them before (Neil? what ones were they?) and was more than happy :)
Their 10yo, as you'd expect from the bottom of the range, was an adequate scotch to give people who don't know better.
It was the 13yo that hooked me last year, and the 13yo this year (the 1994) was something else. Its like drinking syrup, and yet still cask strength. Ooohhh baby. All the complexity and interest of the 24yo, but with more ooompphh. Oh and half the price. Bottles at the tasting were being flicked off at NZ $135.
I'm interested in spinning the 24yo and the 1994 to compare the taste, I suspect the 24yo will provide more subtlety but that it will be very very close as to which is my favourite...
Actually I think Nick is wandering in tomorrow avo, something like that may happen, watch this space boozehags...