Friends, it’s time for a premiere! I will for the first time do a tasting note of a whisky from Balblair! During this years Linköping Whisky Expo I was very lucky to receive a sample from my good friend, and Balblair-expert, Evert who is helping out Berntson Brands at different festivals all over Sweden. So a big thanks to Evert!
Balblair is a Highland distillery that was founded in 1790. Now the special thing about Balblair is that in 2007 they started to release their whisky in vintages only: ”Every bottle of Balblair captures the essence of its Vintage year, the year in which it was distilled and laid down in casks”, is what we can understand from the Balblair website.
According to Evert, this 1997 Balblair vintage was released 2013 and is the 3rd release of vintage 1997, not the 2nd release, which is a missunderstanding not to be trusted. It has been matured in 2ndfill bourbon casks. Okey, let’s see what’s on the nose!
Oooh! Nice! This is an excellent example of a whisky with sooo much varieties of summer-apples on the nose! Almost even very much like nosing an ”un-ripe”, sunwarmed pear… amazing stuff. That said, the nose is also very citric, almost reminding me of fresh rhubarb. It should be impossible not to get a mouth that waters when nosing this☺Below that layer we definitely have a soft vanilla, and below that there is vanilla custard. Trying to go even deeper we have sort of a more calm composition of different kinds of sweetness, hard to explain but something like sugar syrup, fudge, very very faint almondpaste and even some watermelon in combo with, belive it or not, honeydew melon. Mmm… absolutely beatiful…
Soft and starts off mostly on a citric sort of sweetness, zesty. More moving towards the sugar syrup and watermelon-/honeydew melon-ish sweetness though than that of the apples, pears and rhubarb that was on the nose. Quite fast after the sweet and citric introduction we get some really nice crushed almonds moving on into almondpaste, moving quite fast, say a second or so, into a bit of dryness, not really herby, but a somehow ”green dryness”, maybe a maltyness. Smacking my mouth and really tasting the aftertaste, here comes the apples, in form of apple peel and a quite dry apple/pear cider, almost somewhere in the background astrakhan apple or distant calvados. Waiting even longer, believe it or not a faint faint touch of liqourice.
To sum up:
This Balblair was really interesting to try, classic bourbon matured whisky but uncommon in the way that ist’s very vibrant and very much alive. I give you a heartwarming recommendation to try it. Older Balblair should probably be exciting too, even just to see if they are as vibrant as this one!