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Balmenach 1970 12 Year Old Connoisseurs Choice




Whisky Review: Balmenach 1970 12 Year Old Connoisseurs Choice

Tasting Notes:

More famous these days for its gin production, a huge sign outside states ‘the home of Caorunn Gin’ – Balmenach is a rather underappreciated and still hidden distillery. It typically provides a very tropical fruit distillate, but you’d be hard pressed to find a standard bottling of it anywhere. This style is an indie bottlers gem, really showcasing how heavy on fruit this highland style can be.
Golden mercury
A very gristy, malty style of Balmenach. I’ve only ever known this to be super tropical in the past. There are some creeping green fruit notes rising up, classic pear, green apple, and almost a sour apple type of sweetness. Letting it open up for another fifteen minutes has turned this thing into a boozy lemon drizzle cake! So much fresh lemon zest and royal icing.
Not the continuing sweetness from the nose, this is a lot chewier and thicker than you would asusme. Back are these grist notes of finely ground barley, you could even push for some cognac/sherry notes that wonder around the back the tongue.
Now we have the apple notes back but in the form of cider or scrumpy. This is very much a farm yard style of highland whisky.
Wasn’t expecting any of this; the whole whisky is quite a journey of farm yard flavours and smells. Very different to what I classically know of Balmenach.
The Balmenach 1970 12 Year Old Connoisseurs Choice is very rare at auction.

Balmenach Distillery, nestled in Cromdale, Speyside, traces its roots back to 1824. James MacGregor officially founded the distillery after a period of illicit production on his farm, making Balmenach one of the earliest distilleries sanctioned following the Excise Act of 1823. This act marked the beginning of legal whisky production, curbing the prevalent unlicensed distillation across the region.

In 1897, Glenlivet Distillers acquired Balmenach, initiating a phase of expansion and modernization that included the installation of a railway line for efficient transportation. However, hard times hit in 1993 when the distillery was mothballed.

The distillery lay dormant until 1998 when Inver House Distillers breathed new life into it, resuming scotch whisky production. Today, the distillery also produces Caorunn Gin.

As a result, the availability of Balmenach single malt scotch whisky is quite low. As such, fans of the expressions are sustained mostly on releases such as this 1970 12 Year Old Connoisseurs Choice.

Phil Dwyer

Having worked in whisky retail for a decade, and running Whisky Wednesday on YouTube for nearly as long, Phil has always wanted to learn, talk and tell everyone as much about whisky as he can.

Whisky can be overly complicated at times. Phil wants to end that. Brands have pushed far too much jargon into the drinking atmosphere; it's difficult to breathe when whisky is mentioned at times.

Phil also manages The Whisky Shop Manchester stocking some of the best drams on the market.

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