Sunday, April 29, 2012


Balmenach 27 Year Old Chieftians Bottling. A surprisingly nice dram that is a rich peachy gold in appearance. The nose brings brine, roasted nuts, powdered sugar, caramel and a touch of dried fruits. The medium body palate shows notes of tropical fruits and sandalwood, entwined with brown spice, sugar and melon. The finish just doesn’t stop, it’s so long….and brings back some brine along with spiced pears.

The Balmenach distillery is tucked into the bottom of the Haughs of Cromdale in the Spey valley. It was among these hills on the last day of April 1690 that an army of Jacobite soldiers was ambushed by dragoon guards. The attack came during the night as the Jacobite forces were sleeping. Many were slain and the remaining fled nearly naked. This defeat effectively ended the Jacobite uprising in the Highlands. In the early 1800s three brothers crossed these hills from Tomintoul and set up a farm. One of these brothers was James McGregor who soon set up an illicit still on the site. Shortly after the licensing act was introduced, James McGregor obtained a license for his distillery, formally establishing it in 1824. The McGregor family controlled the distillery until 1922, then it changed hands between several owners and even found its doors closed for a time.

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