A lot of people seem to think this is a peated Glenlivet because the bottle says “Speyside Glenlivet”. In actual fact Glenlivet is a particular valley that’s home to several distilleries and way back when many of them labelled themselves as such (the term is much older than “Speyside”) but the popular Glenlivet Distillery got the rights to label themselves as “The Glenlivet” so the others stopped using it much. You can still see it on older bottlings of whiskies such as Macallan.
But I digress.
Old Ballantruan is in fact a peated malt from Tomintoul. I’ll get round to posting some tasting notes from several Tomintouls I’ve tried at some point, and from that you’d be able to tell that I am not really fan of their whiskies (granted there are a few diamonds in the rough), but this, this is a different animal entirely.
Old Ballantruan is very heavily peated and comes as an NAS and as a 10 year old, both bottled at a glorious 50% ABV and thus non-chill filtered. I tried the NAS version at Whisky Live Tel Aviv last year and liked it a lot, so I was happy to lay my hands on a bottle of the 10 year old.
Aged 10 years. 50%ABV. Non-chill filtered
Nose: Big whiff of mineral peat. Pine cones. Charred meat. Cut dry grass. Craft glue. Camphor. Wintergreen.
Palate: Thick. Citrus oil. Wet stone in the sun. Tarred thatch. Glazed meat.
Finish: Long. Citrus oils. Ash. Salt. Mineral peat. Bit of a lingering bitter wood and charcoal note.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This was a nice one indeed, a little more complex than I remember the NAS being, but not hugely complex in itself, just very different from the standard Islay profile. This one feels a lot meatier and oilier. A tad pricey for what it is so not sure I’ll ever buy a bottle, but it did put a great big smile on my face.