Whisk(e)y Revi(e)ws: BalDonach 12 year old

Matt here with my second review of obscure whisk(e)ys from around the world.  At the behest of my fellow Maltese Falcons (hello chaps!) I returned to Kourosh’s Booze-aar for another obscure bottle of sweet Scottish bliss, and like manna from heaven, it fell to me at the low price of $56.19:  BalDonach 12 year old.

BalDonach trail: A trail as old as time

BalDonach is one of the smallest and oldest distilleries in Scotland.  Nestled in the scenic Campbelltown hills, BalDonach is Gaelic for “terrain that’s rough and hilly”.  It is served by the Donachie river (think estuary-meets-curb-side-run-off) that provides some of the salty aspects of this dram, and only receives direct sunlight three days of the week (that’s all they can afford.)  A couple of miles down the hill from the distillery, the Donachie runs into Loch Donach, which is renowned for its blind para-sailing club, “The Look-Outs”.

Loch Donach in all its Loch-ness

Anyhow, on to the review.

Nose:  Have you ever taken a piece of chalk in your hand, and crushed it up into your fist, and then gone for a bike ride in the rain, stopped for a churro from 7-11, wiped the cinnamon onto your pants, and then fired off a firecracker?  It’s kind of like that, but you’re drunk.

Taste:  Kourosh (see previous review) gets another pat on the back for this one.  Smoke is lightly present, as are toffee, coffee, salty-licorice, and caramelized green banana, like on your uncle’s breath at Christmas.  The coffee flavour makes way for black tea as it sits for a while, much like your uncle does after Christmas dinner.

Can’t beat Beets!

Finish:  If you could describe a flavour as Ernest Hemingway meets Natalie Imbruglia, that would be it.  But you can’t, obviously, so I’d have to say it’s like someone whispered a secret about horses to you inside a cardboard factory over lunch, and the guy next to you is eating spaghetti and pickled beets.

I’ve heard the 18 year old expression focuses more on the nutmeg/nuts/eggs aspect, so I’ll probably try that one as a comparison, but overall I’m quite impressed, BalDonach.  Quite impressed.

Final score, 89/100.

See you next time,


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