Sourced product is always guaranteed to prompt a debate but for an incoming distillery, what other options are there for revenue and raising awareness?
Personally, I’ve got nothing against it as long as the origins are clear. Where it does become muddled, is when the bottle is actually trying to pull a fast one and suggest that is it their own single malt i.e. Teeling. It can cause consumer confusion and set the wrong expectation. In the whiskey world, we all know that it’s often hidden away on the back of a bottle in the tiniest print outlining distilled in Indiana, or somewhere else. Closer to home with Scotch, matters are a little more transparent, although the actual bottles never state the original distillery. And a whole cottage industry springs up around guessing the source and speculating on any hints that are dropped.
I guess this makes sense. After all, it is a mixed message to say that this whisky is what we are aiming for, but by the way, it is actually from let’s say, Teaninich, so in essence, we’re just aiming to rip off what that distillery does when we reach the magical 3-year mark. The other dynamic is to showcase the skill in cask selection, blending and creating something new, regardless of whether its representative of something further down the line, as seen with Eden Mill. A distillery that as far as I know, is worryingly still stuck in limbo with their new distilling site.
We’ve seen this sourced bottling tactic becoming more commonplace, with the Isle of Raasay distillery and their While We Wait series, being the most visible. Funnily enough, the cask make-up of this Bad na h-Achlaise revives memories of the Wait series and my own experiences of their releases.
So what do we know? This is a vatting of 2 casks from a Highland distillery, which has then been finished in Tuscan wine casks. Bottled at 46% strength, this is available directly from the Carnegie Whisky Cellars, or Badachro for £49.95.
Badachro takes its name from the small hamlet where it is situated. The nearest sense of civilisation is Gairloch. Living in Scotland, and having visited the North West region many times, I can vouch for the sense of isolation, peace and harmony. A beautiful place to create your own whisky and capture the essence of the environment. So, Badachro distillery started life as many do, with a focus on gin and now do a variety of gins. This also means given our current situation, a resource to create hand sanitiser and dreaming of whisky. Hence this series and let’s check it out.
Bad na h-Achlaise Highland Single Malt – review
Colour: mellow corn.
On the nose: an enjoyable level of peat comes through without dominating the whisky, more like seasoning and coming through again on the finish. Red liquorice, kindling, drying peat and smoke residue. Red salad leaves, vanilla, a used Staedtler eraser, red apples and peaches. Adding water reveals charcoal, faint rubber and cigar smoke.
In the mouth: lacking definition compared to the nose, traces of peat and a more gentle lick from the wine cask. Timid in places when I expected more bravado. Cola bottles, pepper, raspberry jelly, a spent matchstick and plums. An ashy quality in places with the addition of water revealing more fruit and peat interplay and some rubber.
This is a very solid and enjoyable whisky for the price. I’m happy to give this a thumbs up and the finish has given a wee edge to the overall experience, with the level of peat being perfectly judged. There’s harmony here and satisfaction and for under £50 (just), even our Phil wouldn’t grumble about it, or then again?
When we hear of a finish, we often think of the poor exponents of the practice. The drams that have been sacrificed for colour, a quick buck or to mix up an outturn. The actual implementation of the finish and the final outcome isn’t the main driving force. In being exposed to such whiskies on a regular basis, I rightly question their validity. However, the practice does have its merits and we mustn’t forget this even in the doldrums of 2020.
What Badacrho have planned next remains to be seen. On the basis of this release, they are able to source good casks and whisky, which puts them ahead of some in the market. Let’s see where things take us, but following this release, expectations are pleasantly raised.
Sample kindly provided by the Carnegie Whisky Cellars.