Balmenach 2004 12 year old (Cadenhead’s)

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Bottle: Cadenhead’s authentic collection bottling.

Nose: Butterscotch, coconut dusted marshmallow and some wood varnish. Gets a little saltier with air and time. I really love breathing this one in. That dirty butterscotch melange is superb.

Body: Light and a little oily.

Palate: Brown sugar, lime & coconut meringue pie, hot caramel sauce like on a sundae (it heats up at the end when the sweetness peaks). This just glides down so easily.

Finish: Short and sweet. A little white pepper begins the transition, green pepper and as it started so it ends with a butterscotch fade.

Neat/Ice/Water: 54.4%. It can take a little bit of watering to kill the heat and it holds up better than I expected. Creamier too but you lose the hot caramel sauce and I just love hot caramel sauce…

Verdict: Superior. My first ever Balmenach was meant to be a Benriach from the same Cadenhead’s release but the gents in the London store allowed me to sample both ahead of purchase and this was the better dram. It really reminded me of some grain whiskies I’ve tried but with a much better palate/finish (Haig Club springs to mind in terms of the nose). For under £50 this sneaks into my Superior rating on sheer value for money alone. A real desert dram but with a little character, not just sweetness. Only 258 bottles and still available? Perhaps Balmenach isn’t that well known (they also produce gin there apparently). After this one, I shall be keeping an eye out.

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