Kingsbarns Distillery Lowland Region Scotland Whisky from 50 to 100 euros

Kingsbarns Balcomie

Review of a whisky fully matured in ex sherry

Origin: Lowlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Strength: 46%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-Sherry
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: Kingsbarns Distillery
Average price: € 55.00
Official website: www.kingsbarnsdistillery.com
Vote: 81/100

The stills of this Lowlands distillery were lit in 2014, but the plans to open it were born several years earlier, on the initiative of Douglas Clement who, as a caddy on the St. Andrew golf courses, dreamed of satisfying a request from the wealthy customers who spent their days there: to visit a distillery.
Because the first one available was some 70 kilometres away, and he had his eye on a nearby dilapidated farmhouse, East Newall Farm on the Cambo Estate, which he could convert for the purpose: the idea was there, all he needed was the funds to realise it and the appropriate permits from the authorities of Fife, the county in which the farm was located. An essential contribution came to him from William Wemyss, who he met again on the golf courses and whose family was already well known in the industry thanks to the independent bottler Wemyss Malts.
The deal involved handing over ownership to the Wemyss family, with Clement staying on as director (though he left a few years later), and here’s the opening on 30 November 2014 (St. Andrew’s Day) with the first bottling released in 2018 as a limited edition, while Dream To Dram (the first official one) came out the following year. To date, there are two basic editions, this Balcomie and the Doocot, plus other limited and single cask versions.
A special feature of the distillery is that it uses only barley from the county of Fife.

Balcomie (from a 16th century castle in the area) was released in 2020, a NAS matured entirely in American oak casks that contained oloroso sherry produced using the solera method.

Tasting notes

On the nose it is the sherry that takes center stage, lots of winter spices (cloves, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg) and vinous effluvia composing a warm mulled wine behind which are fruit (candied lemon, pineapple, prunes, sultanas), honey, old chocolate bar (when it turns white after some time) and macadamia nuts. Invigorating.
On the palate, the wine spirit resumes decisively, while a substantial dose of black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg invests pear, red and tropical fruits with some lemony incursions, with bitter and vegetal brush strokes punctuating a pungent but not particularly dense and substantial body. Malt and chocolate emerge on the length.
The finish is quite long and dry, of spices, citrus, red fruits, pear, tannins.

Undoubtedly young and still with many smears, but the distillate has not surrendered to the casks and sustains, not without effort, the attacks of the wood, finally having to surrender its arms but with honour. It will probably express itself better in longer ageing, but already here it is not entirely negligible.

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