Fragrant Drops Balblair 25yo Cask #831 & Fragrant Drops Dalmunach 5yo Casks #22511, #22512 & #22513


We're looking at two new releases from Edinburgh based IB, Fragrant Drops.

    Fragrant Drops Balblair 25yo Cask #831

    Region: Highland

    ABV: 44.5%

    Price: £240.00

    Distilled on the 9th of June 1997, this release was matured for 25 years in a refill bourbon barrel before being bottled on the 1st of March 2023. Only 150 bottles were released.

    Nose

    Initially we’re getting dried cranberries, papaya, mango, and some dried roasted peanuts. A little time in the glass reveals whipped cream, orange peel, caramel sauce and cream soda. It’s a delicate and complex nose, the kind that requires quality wood and a long maturation. This is giving us some high expectations, we hope the palate doesn't fall short of the nose.

    Palate

    The palate opens with a burst of strawberries. There are strawberry laces, along with strawberry and cream hard-boiled sweets, that go into vanilla bonbons before a little peppery spice shows on a good-length finish, with some lingering sweetness. It has a good creamy mouthfeel, and as we go back to it, we notice passion fruit yogurt, milk chocolate, and a little lemon juice. Like the nose, it has a delicate but complex palate.

    Nose (with water)

    Reduction brings out a little of that strawberry sweetness from the palate, along with icing sugar, lime, cashews, and pistachios. We find it slightly diminished by the addition of water, less sweet, and a little more savoury. Personally, we prefer the undiluted nose.

    Palate (with water)

    Much like the nose, we prefer the undiluted palate. It is thinner now while also being spicier. It feels like we've added a few sprinkles of pepper instead of water. We have also lost some of those tropical notes. We find that the mouthfeel and finish remain good but are not as sweet. There are also lingering tequila and bitter grapefruit notes.

    Conclusion

    Without water this is a lovely dram. A great “breakfast whisky” perfect for sipping in the garden in the sun. Another great release from Fragrant Drops.

    Score: 8/10

    Value

    Being a newer independent bottler we imagine that the cask was not cheap, and this is reflected in the RRP. Saying that if you have the cash we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

    Fragrant Drops Dalmunach 5yo casks #22511, #22512 & #22513

    Region: Speyside

    ABV: 61.9%

    Price: £75.00

    Next up is a 5 year old Dalmunach that was initially matured in bourbon before being transferred into three first fill PX Firkins for and 11 month finishing period. 199 bottles were released.

    Nose

    The nose opens with Caramac bars, condensed milk, and a hint of yeast, giving away its youthfulness. Give it time to open, and notes of chocolate fudge, almonds, and candied ginger appear. You can also notice some vanilla sweetness from the initial bourbon cask as it sits in the glass. It's not as alcoholic on the nose as we expected, given the ABV.

    Palate

    It's like drinking dark hot chocolate with a hint of ginger. There's also Christmas cake here, and more ginger spice on a good-length finish. However, there's a little burnt coffee bitterness here that we're not enamoured with, and it's a touch spicier than our tastes prefer. That being said, it has a good mouthfeel, and as we go back to it, we're getting some toffee and cinnamon appearing. There are fewer fruity sherry notes here than we were expecting.

    Nose (with water)

    When reduced, there's more sherry coming through with notes of brown sugar and treacle. It may be a touch one-dimensional now, but it's not unpleasant to the nose.

    Palate (with water)

    Lots of burnt toffee and treacle. It's now even spicier with too much chili heat that lingers on the tongue. It has lost its bitterness, but it has also lost a lot of the sweetness that we enjoyed before dilution. The mouthfeel is decent, and the finish is a good length.

    Conclusion

    Not a terrible dram by any means and if you’re looking to try the distilleries output this would definitely be one of the better releases we’ve tried. Saying that while the distillery show promises we think that this is a distillery that will impress more at an older age.

    Score: 6/10

    Value

    The price is in line with other releases from the distillery that have went through a secondary maturation

    • 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.

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