I recently realized that all the Edradours I have yet reviewed on the blog have been Ballechins—Ballechin, as I’m sure you know, is the name of the peated variant of Edradour, much like the Ledaig/Tobermory split at Tobermory. If you don’t know the distillery, it’s in the highlands, is owned by the same people who own the indie outfit, Signatory, and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland. I’ve now driven more or less past it twice on two trips to Scotland—perhaps if I ever get back there I will finally stop in. Anyway, I do like a good Ballechin but it’s time to start bringing some balance to this picture. Accordingly, this week will feature three Edradours. They are all of similar age—10-11 years old—and all have been matured in single oloroso casks. First up is the oldest of the lot in terms of both length of maturation and of vintage, if only by the slightest of margins. This 11 yo was distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2020 for Specs, the large Texas spirits retailer. Way back in the golden age of single malt whisky in the US, when shipping between states was not an impossible or very expensive venture, I purchased a fair bit of old whisky from Specs. I don’t expect that this store selection of a young sherry cask Edradour will quite reach the heights of those ancient Caperdonichs and Banffs and the like but I’ll be happy enough even if it’s just a very good whisky. Let’s see how it goes.
Edradour 11, 2008 (57.1%; oloroso cask 386 for Specs; from a bottle split)
Nose: Sweet, rich sherry notes run through with a big hit of crushed macadamia nuts and malt. A little bit of powdered ginger on the second and third sniff and there’s a hint of old-school medicine bottles with rubber stoppers. The malt expands as it sits picking up milky cocoa to go with. With more time some orange peel emerges here as well and it’s a very nice mix of aromas now. A few drops of water make the citrus expand and, yes, there’s some apricot jam in there too now and some toffee; and also a citronella note.
Palate: Everything from the nose but the sweeter stuff is in the lead. More cherry on the fruit front than dried citrus or apricot. Quite approachable at full strength and rich texture. Citrus begins to emerge with time as does some oak (not tannic). Ah yes, with water it gets brighter still—orange peel, apricot. The malt is still there too.
Finish: Long. The notes from the nose mostly continue with similar development with time. A bit of salt at the end. As on the nose and palate with water.
Comments: Neat, this was just fine. Not a generic sherry bomb—on account of that heavy nutty, malty thing—but a sherry bomb nonetheless. Water brought out greater fruity depth and complexity and made it punch far above its years.
Rating: 87 points. (Pulled up by water)