Yesterday I got involved in a Balblair twitter tasting organised by Lukasz (Alembic Communications ltd) for the Balblair whisky company. Balblair is in the Netherlands a brand that isn’t that common, mostly due to an importer who doesn’t market this brand very well. So this was a great opportunity to taste some editions again (tasted the Balblair 2001 earlier (youngest version of Balblair). This night the youngest whisky to taste was 15 years old and the oldest 36-37 year old (!). What did we taste?
Balblair 1997 2nd release 2012 1st refill American oak ex-bourbon 46%
Wow! Directly at the first sniff lots of tropical fruits, very summerlike dram. Getting orange, apricot, lemon, green apple, pineapple and a hint of coconut. The fruit cocktail is balanced with layers of vanilla and light floral honey (orange blossom honey). Superb nose.
Then the taste, the fruit turns darker and some spiciness appears (a touch of ginger perhaps). Tasted it blind you would get a confused while there is appearing a Waxiness in your mouth that a lot of Clynelishes have.
The finish is lengthy, and very oily with a hint of grasses.
A greatly balanced dram for temperatures above 20 degree’s. Nose is superb, taste is a bit less interesting but very very pleasant. Not found in shops in the Netherlands, price around 65 Euros according Master of Malt.
Balblair 1990 (cask 1466) Single Cask 2013 release, American Oak ex-bourbon 50,4%
This one is different. First it is a Single Cask, second it has been sitting in a used Islay cask and it is only available at Master of Malt. Residual Peatiness to be expected.
The first sniff displays Islay a bit different. The trademark of Balblair, the fruit cocktail style, blends it very nicely together. Again lots of fruits, but now more in a wintery edition. The lemon and citrus notes are present, but I am getting a more baked fruit pie smell. Also combined with a somewhat coastal smell as you get with Coal Ila (bit salty, seaweed) and quite a bit of cinnamon and star anise, turning is a bit into the Asian direction.
The taste gives more of the residual peat. Distinct smoke, dried fruits, charcoaled grilled banana/mango/pineapple and quite spicy (ginger/white pepper). Suddenly some herbal notes come playing with you (rosemary, flat leaf parsley).
The finish is quite waxy again and long. A slight bitterness at the end from the longer cask influence and even some iodine which is getting back at you.
Difficult to choose. The first one is summery, this one is more autumn like and they are both stunning. Only available at Master of Malt for about 148 euro’s
Balblair 1975 2nd release 2012 American oak ex-Fino Sherry cask 46%
Hmmm, wow! Needs some time but then…….. Excellent balanced influence of the Fino Sherry cask. Old library feel with old bee wax polished leather furniture, but again the distinct fruitiness shining and lingering around. Quite a lot more oak and cereals present. And then the Sherry influence, more dried sultana´s and surprisingly peat (peated malt was used for this whisky). Superb nose. Bringing a lot and could keep you busy an entire evening when it gets your full attention.
The taste shows some more of the sherry influence. A bit dry, oaky feel with a hint of balsamic vinegar. Chocolate nuts and honey candied fruits.
The finish is very long.
The last notes are a bit short; I was lingering in the playfulness of this beautiful lady of age, but still reacting as if she is much more younger. A dram to forget everything around you and would be enjoyed solely without any distractions around. Stunning! Not found in Dutch shops. Master of Malt price 245 euro’s.
A kick ass tasting with whisky from a distillery which isn’t getting enough attention over here. While the younger 2002 version a tasted before was good, these older ones are excellent to superb. Definitely a brand to look out for, certainly if you like finely balanced fruit cocktails. Thanks guys for organizing this tasting and let me participate!