Back in Feb 2016 I visited Balblair distillery, and two of the drams – 05 and 99 vintages – were some of the ones we tasted as part of the tour. Because I was driving, Julie the distillery visitor centre manager, kindly popped the samples into 3cl bottles for me to take home. What a great idea and very responsible, especially in the light of lower drink drive limits in Scotland… well done to Balblair for offering this service!
Let’s take a look at the two vintages now…
Colour: Very pale, light straw, honest.
Nose: What I’d call a good summer whisky, it’s quite light, not dominated by sherry casks; it’s simple, good bourbon quality. It’s nicely packed with barley and distillery character, it’s light, fruity, fizzy, flavoursome.
Palate: Nice mouthfeel, thick & oily. Packed with honey notes and plenty of barley, it’s like having breakfast.
Finish: Vibrant, sweet, honied, delicious. Great stuff.
Thoughts: I mentioned this was almost like having breakfast, and in fact it would be fantastic with porridge in the morning, yum! Nicely priced dram.
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £41.75
Info: Second release (I think).
Colour: Nice, bright, full gold.
Nose: Honeyed barley malt, but older, more dunnagey with a lightly balanced, beautiful sherry influence.
Palate: Very thick, oily and easy, really really smooth in fact. Nicely judged balance of barley sweetness, sherry fruitiness and oak tannins. Pinch of spice after a while.
Finish: On the finish the barley is the first flavour you find, soon followed by the sweet juicy, but light sherry tones. It’s oily, and because of that it lasts a long time.
Thoughts: Probably my favourite Balblair for a long time, really rather perfectly balanced and enjoyable, right in the middle of light summer drammage, and a heavy winter warmer.
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £59.25
Thanks to the folks of Balblair for a great tour, nice to see you!