Review – Burnside and Bealach Ruadh from Chorlton Whisky.

This week we are looking at two bottlings from a new independent bottler, Chorlton Whisky. One is a vatted Speysider and the other is from an undisclosed Islay distillery.

Burnside, IB, Chorlton Whisky, 20yo, 51.7% abv, press sample (available here)


Burnside is the name usually given to vatted Balvenie which is, to the best of my knowledge, more than likely ‘teaspooned’ with Glenfiddich. I have heard rumours that sometimes it can be labeled as Burnside but may be pure Balvenie on occasion.

On the nose there are some zesty lemons and citrus pepper, alongside melon, heather and a touch of perfume as well as a hint of woody spice.

Its light and a touch waxy in the mouth, it is still light and peppery but after a while there is a slight fruitiness emerging.

The tropical fruits notes that do reveal themselves are layered under some green apples and some wine like elements, crisp like a sauvignon blanc, unfortunately like an overly oaky one at that.

There is quite a lot of aggression here and there is very little to suggest that this is 20 years old, it seems much younger and hotter.

The finish is woody, hot and a little gingery, as we would expect, and has a little sprinkle of spice alongside some gentle tobacco notes.

If someone told me that this was virgin oak I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.

Water softens slightly and adds more of a peachy and tropical note. However it is a little sharp and the aggression unfortunately remains.

£72 will buy you one of the 103 bottles available.

Bealach Ruadh, IB, Chorlton Whisky, 58%abv, press sample (available here)


My Gaelic may a little rusty but this translates as ‘Red Mountain Pass’ (which I didn’t need to Google) and is in fact an area of Islay, near to Caol Ila Distillery and Port Askaig. (which I did need to Google).

The nose has a very light peat, restrained and inviting. There are some tangy coastal notes mixed with wet newspapers and some pencil shavings. Vanilla notes lie underneath somewhere.

The palate is ashy with a slight and sweet whisper of vanilla. There is a surprising banana note here alongside a slight honeyed feeling mixing nicely with some peaches, pineapples and sea spray (Brine-apples??)

The sea spray lingers pleasantly alongside a slight minerality on the finish, perhaps even a light soot right at the end, with a decidedly juicy tropical fruit element jumping out.

Surprisingly drinkable straight from the bottle at  58% abv and has what can be best described as a ‘dirty elegance’

Impressive stuff.

This was apparently destined to be a 9yo but was allegedly bottled a week early by accident. It definitely feels much older and more refined than its age may suggest.

It is limited to only 86 bottles and at £46 will no doubt sell out quickly.

Thanks to Chorlton Whisky for the samples.

Find many more tasting notes and whisky news in the Amateur Drammers Archives.

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