Balblair Tasting at Milroys


During this week I found myself in London for work, and as happy coincidence would have it in the evening there was a Blablair tasting hosted at Milroys by the distillery’s manager John MacDonald. He’s a top gent and very interesting to talk to, if you get the chance then you should spend some time in his company, be that at a tasting somewhere, or if you manage to visit the distillery and he’s around.

We spent a couple of hours chatting about loads of things, and going through some of the current range… most of which I’ve reviewed before, but it’s always nice to make some new notes which you can find below.


New Make – 67.7%

Barley and cream. With time it’s really barley sweet toffee with cream taking a back seat. Green apples, pears and some spices. Peppery finish, really quite peppery.

2003 – 46%

2nd fill bourbon. Green and red apples. Light, vanilla toffee notes. Peaches. Rich and thick toffee sweet palate. Long barley finish. Great summer early afternoon dram.

1999 – 46%

(Non TR release) 13 years in 2nd fill bourbon. 2 years in European Oloroso Sherry oak. Rich autumn in a tropical island would sum it up. Thick, spicy and buttery, citrus comes out well before underlying sherry fruits. A nice interplay. Longer finish.

1990 2nd release – 46%

Earthy autumn, sweet. Rich and deep. Like an older brother to the 99. 21 years in 2nd fill bourbon and 2 in Spanish sherry oak. Richly thick and sweet on the palate. Still bourbon lightness but with a sherry depth. Honey comes through later. Huge long finish.

1989 – 46%

100% 2nd fill bourbon. Rich sticky toffee, gentle oak notes. Hugely satisfying, with a long warming hug of a finish. Gentle chocolate tones. Gorgeous dram.

Overall, it’s a good reminder that Balblair is a great quality malt that never disappoints. The vintage releases are a great way for the distillery to select good malts for us all while managing their stocks well and therefore not being constrained by age statements.

Thanks to Balblair and Milroys.


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