Review: Balmenach 12 Years Old 2001 SMWS 48.46 Exploding flower

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Balmenach Distillery

Bottling: SMWS Cask 48.53

ABV: 57.4% ABV

Cost: £43.80 buy from SMWS

Score: 83/100

SMWS

What they say:

Cask No. 48.46

The nose started with linoleum and green leaf, but slowly opened like a flower – vanilla sponge, Danish pastries, toffee, some fruit (strawberry, banana) and floral notes (gentian, rosewater, gorse). The neat palate was assertive, but complex and unusually bitter-sweet – ‘biting an orange’, tutti-frutti, jelly beans – one panellist found a honey, vodka and gunpowder mixture, but he self-combusted and didn’t trouble us anymore. With water, the nose became freshly intriguing, with tinned fruit salad, old-fashioned lemonade, tree-bark, liquorice and menthol. The palate was now really rather pleasant – juicy, sweet and refreshing, with peach and pear balancing clove and aniseed spice.

Date Distilled: 1-Nov-01 Colour: Yellow gold Age: 12 years Flavour : Sweet, Fruity & Mellow Cask Type: 1st fill barrel Whisky Region: Speyside Spey

SMWS 48.46

What I say:

Thanks to Tom at Toms Whisky Reviews for the sample. We recently ticked off Balmenach (SMWS Distillery #48) from our list but just like buses, you wait for ages then 2 come at once. This cask was distilled and matured at similar times so makes a great comparator to our last expression: Balmenach 12 Years Old 2001 – 48.53 Big boots fruity bruiser ~ 57.8% (SMWS)

Colour:

Dull amber gold/antique gold (7/20), fine tears leave very fine legs

Nose:

Floral and sweet, vanilla custard, violets, fabric softener or conditioner/fresh linen, coconut and gorse flowers, heather, sweet pastries, light cereal flour, Madeira cake, lemon and orange citrus, banana milkshake

Taste:

Fruity, fruit medley, apple, melon, mandarin orange segments, peach, pear, floral and perfumed, barley sugars, cereal flour, Madeira cake, lime and menthol, eucalyptus and clove spice

Finish:

Long perfumed and fruity sweet a hint of spice and ascerbic oak wood balanced by sweetness

Overall:

A dram full of interesting and quite complex flavours, this one borders on the line between fruit and flowery with a hint creeping in of fabric softener or similar. Saved at the end by an intensity of spice and oak wood, making it very moreish.