The Lakes Distillery - Whiskymaker's Edition: Bal Masque

The Lakes Distillery - Whiskymaker's Edition: Bal Masque


This is the fourth in the Lakes Distilleries “The Whiskymaker’s Editions” series.

Bal Masque, named after the “mystery and seduction of a masquerade ball”, the liquid was matured in French oak casks… french oak being a porous grained oak. Difficult to control or predict, yet offering many flavour compounds and tannins, a real experiment in the ‘art of the possible'.

This whisky is Non-chill filtered and has been bottled with the natural colour, at an ABV of 54%.

On the Nose

Fresh apple. The spice on the nose was initially cloves.. but also, weirdly, the sweetness and citrus kick from a cardamom pod. That might sound strange, but I tested it against some cardamom I had in a spice rack… the note was definitely there! Some black pepper is dancing around the back of the nose, bringing it into the sharper end of spice as the dram settled in the glass.

On the palate

For a strong ABV whisky (not being watered down), this was surprisingly smooth and didn’t cause any burn in the mouth on the first sip. The liquid was not oily or lingering, but sweet and subtle. Notes of apple pie and cinnamon, a slight smokiness (like the apple pie had burnt pastry on top), and some raisins.

I did add a few drops of water to the dram, and it became quite aggressive on both the nose and the palate. However, after what I’d described as a ‘glug’ of water, the dram settled back down and the sweetness really developed nicely.

It almost reminded me of not-quite-yet-ripe peach, roasted almonds, with a woody tannin dryness on the finish.


A very interesting dram from The Lakes Distillery.

Having tried a few of their “The One” expressions before, I was excited to try out a much higher ABV whisky from them. I really enjoyed “The One Orange Wine Cask finished” lakes release, and I must say I almost preferred it over this one...

That being said, the Bal Masque is tasty and lovely in its own right, it really is. It was just more of an effort to add a certain amount of water to the glass to make it reach the peak of taste for my palate.

If you, like me, have tried whiskies from this distillery before and enjoyed them, you won’t be disappointed with this release. If you enjoy experimenting with water and changing the ABV for yourself as you drink, you’ll love this. If you want an easy “sipper” just to add to a glass and drink, I wouldn’t say this would be a wise choice.

Overall, a very tasty dram, and one that whisky lovers will spend a very long time exploring, I’m sure!

Want to try it for yourself?

Why not try The Lakes Distillery Bal Masque for yourself? You can pick up a bottle online at any of the following retailers:
This dram was tried via a Whisky-me subscription! To subscribe to Whisky-me, visit them HERE.
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