The members of the whiskyfacile board have discovered with horror that the Highlands are poorly represented within the website; sure, that Brora of ’77 alone would be enough to keep the name of northern Scotland high, but you know, it is always worth finding an excuse to drink. So: since we are so sorry that the Highlands have few reviewed specimens, let’s taste today a whisky from Balblair, a distillery that for some years now has decided to remake the look and to focus not on a traditional core range of different ages (10, 15 and 18 years old, for example) but on vintage versions, with only barrels of the same year. The vintage that we taste today is 1991, we do not know if there are different batches, certainly this one exists since 2009. The color is straw yellow.
N: the malt is clearly the starring, intense and ripe (muesli), next to it, we are struck by a clear almond, not sweetish, and the usual vanilla that is a bit in the background. Little fruit, but good: peach (peaches in syrup?), even ripe strawberry. Pleasant and definitely present are the herbaceous scents (hay). All this, surrounded by a very, very light smokiness and some ‘dirtier’ notes, we would say wax. Good.
P: consistent, we find exactly what was on the nose: not very sweet or sugary; rather malty, but the nuts (walnut, in particular) appear with more intensity. The flavors have a little intensity, it may be for the abv, but on the palate this Balblair seems to us weak. Dry, especially after a while and towards the finish.
F: malt. Echoes of an indecipherable fruit. It doesn’t persist but it doesn’t disappear either: medium.
The nose of this whisky is intriguing: it may not be very complex, but it makes a very good impression, especially considering some notes, kind of waxy, that we like very much. It gets a bit lost between palate and finish. Not for this reason we will stigmatize it so much to give it less than 83/100, as Serge does too.
Recommended background music: Slim Moore and The Mar-kays – Cityscape, and go easy.