Old Ballantruan whiskies contain the smoky phenolic notes that are associated with Islay malts
while in the background are sweet notes that characterise the Speyside region.
Old Ballantruan has been made by Tomintoul Distillery, within, part of the most famous Scotch whisky producing region, â€œSpeyside Glenlivetâ€. The purity of the spring water, and the clean fresh air in which the whisky matures, creates Scotch whisky of the best quality.
After a year of testing the water from various springs, the owners of Tomintoul Distillery found the best quality on Carn Ballantruan, a hill midway between the village of Tomintoul and Glenlivet. This was named the Ballantruan Spring. The spring had probably been there, undiscovered, for millions of years in this sparsely populated area; and so the location of the distillery was determined.
One of the most distinctive characteristics, in some Scotch whiskies, is the addition of peat* to give a rich smoky flavour and a long-lasting finish. The quantity of smoky flavour in a peated whisky depends on the amount of peated malt barley used in the distillation process. The smokiness can be measured as â€œphenolic strengthâ€ in parts per million or â€œppmâ€. Old Ballantruan is made using heavily-peated malt barley with a total phenol content of 55 ppm (parts per million). This sits at about the same level as some of the peatiest Islay malts, whereas the most delicately peated malts may have a ppm content of as low as 2 or 3.
This 10 year old release of Old Ballantruan is unchillfiltered. Many whiskies are chill filtered prior to the bottling process, to remove the fatty esters that can turn the whisky slightly hazy. There is suggestion that chill filtration removes some of the flavour profile from these whiskies. The majority of whisky brands are mixed with spring water to be bottled at 40% abv, however, Old Ballantruan Aged 10 Years is bottled at 50% abv. At a level above 46% abv, the haze elements are not apparent therefore unchillfiltered whiskies, including Old Ballantruan, are usually bottled at higher strengths. Retaining higher alcohol content allows the drinker to add water to the whisky to suit their own palate.
Duncan Baldwin, Senior Brand Ambassador commented: â€œOld Ballantruan Aged 10 Years comes in striking packaging. The individual carton reflects the colour of the natural peat burnt during the malt drying process. The antique green bottle features water-slide transfer labelling conveying a fresh and contemporary feel whilst maintaining the colour ways consistent with the naturalness of peat.â€
Colour: Rich gold
Nose: Gently spicy with smoky â€œpeat-reekâ€ deliciously balanced by a sweeter creamy core
Palate: Some gentle peaty smokiness equipoised with a sweet, creamy, malty backbone
Finish: Climbing finish of sweetness gradually replaced with smoky depth
* Peat â€“ vegetation that has decayed for many years in wet conditions, which is cut and dried to be used as fuel in many parts of the world. If peat is left for millions of years it will become coal. Peat fires are used to dry malted barley for use in Scotch whisky distillation. This gives the Scotch whisky its distinctive smoky flavour, often called "peatiness".
Old Ballantruan Aged 10 Years will be launched in the EU at TFWA in Cannes and in the UK at The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in London, both in October. It will also be available in Western European markets, USA and selected Asian countries.
A â€œTwitter Tastingâ€ will be held on Twitter on 10th October at 7pm, hosted by The Whisky Wire (@TheWhiskyWire). To follow the tasting or join in the conversation, please use the hash tag #OB10TT.