So, my first blending experiment with the Balcones Brimstone that I despise (Batch BRM 11-10) worked out really well. Mixing half an ounce of the Brimstone with one ounce of the Longmorn 16 took out the most offensive raw wood notes of the Brimstone and mellowed it out nicely. Of course, I’m not stopping there (and not just because my Longmorn 16 is much closer to the end than my Brimstone). The goal tonight is to add more citrus/acid fruit to the blend and also some phenols.
The Caol Ila went in first, then the Brimstone, then the Longmorn and finally the Glen Moray. I couldn’t resist taking small sips after each of the first two additions and I can report that Caol Ila + Brimstone might possibly be nastier than the Brimstone by itself. The addition of the Longmorn improved things again, but it was not as good as just the Brimstone and the Longmorn together. Let’s see what the addition of the Glen Moray did.
Nose: Once again, most of the raw wood of the Balcones is gone; but not as much as in the first version. The phenolic note from the Caol Ila seems to trap some of it–so there’s still some notes of pencil shavings in this one, along with notes of barbecue. Again, the more delicate malts seem to mostly be damping down the extremes of the other two and not making themselves heard actively at all. With a lot more time there’s an organic peaty note and also more brine (go, Caol Ila, go!).
Palate: Hmmm, not bad at all either. Definitely more acidic on the fruit front–hints of lemon. And surprisingly non-phenolic/peaty. There’s a minty/menthol note which I suspect is the minerally bite of the Caol Ila trying to cut through the miasma of the Brimstone. The (faux) sherried notes of the first iteration are not present here at all.
Finish: Almost no plywood in the finish, which is a very good thing. More coal smoke here–clearly it takes the peat from the Caol Ila a while to fight through the scrub oak. At the very end there’s a slight hint of black coffee.
Comments: This is a much brighter iteration, which is not surprising considering the high proportion of bourbon cask-matured single malt (both the Glen Moray and the Caol Ila)–much more summery. I am really quite impressed by how well this Brimstone plays with others and how open it is to being improved by its betters (yes, Glen Moray 12, you get to look down on someone for a change!). I am no longer depressed to have so much of this left–I’m clearly going to have a lot of fun blending it. I have an ounce of tonight’s blend saved–I think I might add just a drop of Cointreau to it next time.
Rating: 84 points.