Balmacaan in Donegal tweed in forest green

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Buying

£660.00 — ex VAT

Coat, made in London, with heavy merino lambswool tweed (28oz) from a mill in County Donegal — ostensibly a mix of dark green and black yarn, but with so much more besides — and horn buttons from the West Midlands.

Sizing

The balmacaan fits true to size, but remember, it's an overcoat, cut in the traditional way of being spacious and accommodating of lots of layers underneath. Thick shirts, sweaters, suits — the balmacaan envelopes them all. Go down a size for a slim fit with less layering potential.

XS S M L XL
To fit chest 36 38 40 42 44
Pit-to-pit 21 22 23 24 25
Waist 22 23 24 25 26
Sweep 24½ 25 25½ 26 26½
Back length 42¼ 42½ 42¾ 43 43¼
Sleeve from centre-back 34½ 35 35½ 36 36½
A classic walking coat, this: long and single-breasted, and with a two-piece raglan sleeve that allows a great range of movement in the upper body. Very helpful when it comes to layering, too. "Balmacaan" is the traditional name for this style of coat — from the Balmacaan forest in Scotland.
The coat has a collar of sizeable proportions, cut to sit straight when down, and really hug the neck when up. On one side there is a chin-strap. This buttons across, one side to the other, and keeps the collar upright when the going gets gusty. It can be buttoned back, too, or let to hang loose and lopsided.
There's a short cuff tab, running backwards from the outer sleeve seam, which offers two levels of tightness.
The buttons on the coat are horn, dark in colour and matte in finish. Because each is a thing of nature, they each differ subtly in shade and marking, one to the neck. The coat has a fly-front, with the buttons hidden away when fastened, so less likely to snag on barbed wire, bramble, and other outdoor perils.
The balmacaan has side-entry pockets at the front, which are set at just the right height for the inward plunging of hands. Simple enough, you might first assume ...
... but these pockets also have a secret. They serve as a portal, see, which leads the hand all the way through to the inside of the coat. The annals of outerwear have it that this originates in army coats from a century or more ago — making it easy to access the shirt or jacket or trouser worn underneath the coat.
At the back lurks a deep inverted pleat, extending over a third up the length of the coat. It is constructed in the old-fashioned and faintly over-complicated manner of mid-century British walking coats, and means there's more coat to the coat to expand when the wearer lurches forwards or sideways.
One more pocket: this time on the inside, on the left-side as worn, and set a little lower than normal to make things easier on the elbows. It is a chest pocket of standard wallet- or mobile-size.
The coat is lined halfway down the back with a smooth and slinky satin, cut as a single panel. It helps with sliding the balmacaan on and off, being as the outer cloth has the potential for friction. The sleeves, too, are lined with the same cloth.
The cloth is thick, wide herringbone tweed, Donegal writ through. The yarn — a warp of black and a weft of green — is alive with little flecks of unexpected shades, from amber to lime to magenta. It is merino lambswool, softer than one might assume, and fairs mightily well in the wet and the windy.

As worn

The gent here is 6'1", 11 stone, and slightly north of 38 in the chest. The balmacaan he's happily wearing here, then, is a size S.
The balmacaan here is the same size (size S) and indeed so is the gentleman (38 chest). It is really shown here just to demonstrate the through-pocket.

Makers of

The coat is made in north-east London. It is a very specialised skill, assembling coats from heavy cloth, and every reasonable step — and the odd unreasonable step — is to taken to endure things are built to last, from the cutting of the pattern to the work on the machine, but without the results being stiff or bulky.
The cloth is woven by a sixth-generation mill in County Donegal in Ireland. Every inch of the cloth, every step of the way — from the designing to the warping to the weaving — is overseen by two people: a father and son, who continue the flecked tweed traditions of this part of Ireland.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons made in Birmingham."

So they say

Let me tell you — the balmacaan is a work of art. From the texture and colour to the drape of the whole piece, it is so thoughtfully put together that every wear is a pleasure!

A happy customer in Germany, who purchased the balmacaan in heavy barleycorn Donegal tweed in October 2020.

The coat is wonderful. I have in my time worn [list of established British coat-makers] and, in their prime, [another very notable British coat-maker] and none hold a candle to this. It is lightweight, has a great hand and texture, its fit is perfect for me, and so is its cut. Thank you very much. It also arrived beautifully boxed and intact.

So commented a gent in the States about the balmacaan in the Flyweight quality of Ventile in May 2017.

The balmacaan arrived yesterday, intact, beautifully wrapped and boxed. It is beautiful and fits perfectly. Over a suit with cell phone, stethoscope, and assorted EDC gear on board, it is comfortable and not baggy. And the fabric is amazing. A soft hand and drape but seems as if it will wear forever. Love the Donegal slubs, too. I often wear a popped collar — a throwback to my preppy days — and the collar here really pops. I couldn't be more pleased. Thank you again for you great service and superior craftsmanship.

The words of a man who purchased a tweed version of the balmacaan in September 2017.

I have gotten the urge to advance further into the world of well-dressed people, and I was one of the lucky people who got their hands on the sturdy balmacaan in Ventile Canvas.

This is what a gentleman who acquired the balmacaan in (sturdy indeed) Ventile Canvas had to say in February 2016.

The balmacaan has arrived. It is beautiful.

Succinct words from a man who bought the coat in January 2016.

I have received the tweed balmacaan and it is even more beautiful than I remembered. Thank you very much again.

This man had been waiting for a tweed balmacaan for nearly two years, and finally got his hands on one in September 2017.

I'm very pleased — it's beautifully made and detailed.

More succinct words, by a chap who bought the bal in March 2016.

I thought I'd let you know that I'm really pleased with my balmacaan. I've already given it a couple wears despite the weather being a bit chilly, and I love it. The fit and cut is wonderful — modern and classic at the same time, great silhouette and a perfect collar. The details are great (I don't really know the purpose of the press studs on the pockets, but I know I like them). And the fabric is great stuff, looks and feels lovely, and the way it creases, especially up and down the arms, is amazing. I imagine it ageing very well. A proper rain coat. I'm eagerly anticipating a rainy spring.

Kind words by a man who purchased the balmacaan in canopy cotton in March 2018.