Ballindalloch 2016 Cask #235 & Ballindalloch 2015 Cask #114


Today we’re looking at two releases from another of the “New Wave” of distilleries, Ballindalloch.

Ballindalloch 2016 Cask #235

Region: Speyside

ABV: 61.1%

Price: £103.00

The first release featured is from a 1st fill bourbon barrel, distilled on 28th April 2016 and bottled on 31st January 2024. A total of 228 bottles were produced, exclusively for the UK market.

Nose

The nose opens with heaps of tropical fruits, pineapple, dried mango, icing sugar, light caramel, green apple skin and effervescent Albariño wine. There’s also some fresh lemon juice, whipped vanilla cream and some light cereal notes in the background. There’s a decent alcohol integration for the 60+% ABV. There’s still a definite spirit forwardness that gives away the age, but the quality bourbon cask helps to balance this out.

Palate

The palate begins with fresh lime, banana chips, tinned pineapple slices, moving into custard cream biscuits and fresh pastries drizzled in sugar syrup. There’s a bit of fizzy, pepperiness that lingers on the tongue and through the medium length finish. The mouthfeel is pretty good, it’s got a creamy, syrupy texture. Time and air brings out some richer flavours of milk chocolate, slightly sweetened wholewheat crackers, toffee popcorn and a Tunnocks caramel log.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose shows more creaminess, heaps more vanilla, fudge and white chocolate. It’s much more cask forward, some of the lighter spirit notes have definitely receded. There’s still a zestiness, a bit of Asian pear and white grape.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate loses a bit of the creamy mouthfeel unfortunately, but maintains a sweet, fruity and mellow character. Light fudge, lemon cheesecake and green apple persist, and the finish lingers for the same medium length. Some of the pepperiness has been lost, but it’s still got some heft behind it.

Conclusion

We didn’t know what to expect going into this, but we’re pleasantly surprised. The spirit shines through here, light, fruity with a good quality barrel giving it a bit of balance and richness. It’s impressive for a 7/8 year old, maybe a little rough around the edges but very drinkable. It’s a 7/10, but it’s close to a 7.5.

Score: 7/10

Value

Yes, it’s definitely in the pricey side for a 7yo, but we imagine that’s at least partly driven by the small production of the distillery.


Ballindalloch 2015 Cask #114

Region: Speyside

ABV: 61.1%

Price: £103.00

Next is a release from a 1st fill oloroso sherry butt, distilled on 12th March 2015 and bottled on 20th February 2024. This release saw 648 bottles produced, exclusively available in the UK market.

Nose

The nose has an initial charred quality to it, a little roast beef, grilled strawberries, black pepper, nutmeg and clove. It’s a meaty sherry in style, there’s not too much sweetness coming through for us. Going back and we’re getting lightly crushed raspberries, red currants and some date purée too. There’s a good alcohol balance here, and the sherry helps to mask the youth of the spirit.

Palate

The palate whacks you in the face with sherry.. but not in an astringent way, more of a red fruit bomb.. an abundance of cherry, strawberry, red grape and sultanas. The mouthfeel is a touch thinner than we’d like, but that hasn’t affected the flavour of the dram too much, it doesn’t feel thin or insipid. There’s a warm spice here too, cinnamon and black pepper mostly, a touch of brown sugar balancing this out. There’s also some dark chocolate and walnut appearing too. The finish has a good length, mostly rich charred wood and a hint of spent coffee grounds.

Nose (with water)

he reduced nose is slightly deeper and richer, more coffee and dark chocolate present themselves upfront. The slightly charred quality also persists, and we’re getting a bit of flamed orange peel too. Dry leather and coriander seed also make an appearance.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate follows in a similar suit to the reduced nose, with more chocolate, caramel and nuts now overtaking those red fruits we found before. We’re still finding some black cherry, but it’s mostly almonds, cocoa beans and coffee beans that appear for us.

Conclusion

Again, an impressive single cask from this new Speyside distillery. The sherry goes from meaty on the nose to sweet and fruity on the palate, maintaining a slightly charred quality through both. A few nitpicks around the mouthfeel and alcohol punch, but overall we’re enjoying what Ballindalloch are putting out so far. It pays off to wait longer than 3 years before releasing your whisky! We’ll go with 7/10 as well, we slightly prefer the bourbon barrel but it’s down to personal preference.

Score: 7/10

Value

Like todays other releases, we'll cut the distillery some slack on the price as they lack the economy of scale that most of their competitors have.

🥃 If you enjoy our content, consider buying us a dram! 🥃
  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

    If you like what you’ve read then check out our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to get notifications of when we post a new review or just to chat about whisky with us.

    You also might be interested in...

    Woodrows Caol Ila Cask 8yo #319259A & Woodrows Campbeltown blend Cask #68
    Woodrows Caol Ila Cask 8yo #319259A & Woodrows Campbeltown blend Cask #68
    With the yearly whisky festivals upon us, we've got the Islay and Campeltown releases from Woodrows of Edinburgh up for
    Read More
    Glen Scotia 9 Year Old Unpeated Fino Sherry Finish 2024 Festival
    Glen Scotia 9 Year Old Unpeated Fino Sherry Finish 2024 Festival
    As we approach the 2024 Campbeltown Malts Festival, we're taking a look at Glen Scotia's festival offering.
    Read More
    Whisky Sponge Glen Garioch 21yo & Whisky Sponge Bladnoch 33yo
    Whisky Sponge Glen Garioch 21yo & Whisky Sponge Bladnoch 33yo
    We've got a few well-aged releases from WhiskySponge, including a 33 year old Bladnoch up for review.
    Read More

    Leave a comment


    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published