This summer we had the pleasure of climbing up the Scottish moorlands to Balblair, one of the northernmost distilleries in the country (on our facebook profile you can see some photos, while here you can read Ruben‘s impressions). In the end it was really worth it and we could visit a small but rustic distillery, which is winning the favor of the public with its policy of bottling only vintage. Today’s malt has rested for 32 years in barrels of American oak ex bourbon, with great expectations. The color is straw yellow.
N: certainly the long aging gives personality: lots of good wood and lots of good vanilla, really very intense with delicious notes of orange and even a little pear. To surprise, however, fruit and sweetness are not the only protagonists: a smell of brine, almost of yeast, which forms a very pleasant nose, like a real Highlander. Here and there scented floral suggestions rejuvenate the over thirty-year-old. Honey. Milk chocolate?
P: good body. It starts quite austere, between woody and bitter (a little bit of wax). Then, without big explosions of sweetness, we move on to an enjoyable background vanilla, with hints of almond and very ripe fruit (still citrus, orange above all, and pear). Much pepper, which really pinches on the tongue.
F: quite long, but discreet. Creamy and coating, still on almond, vanilla, wood and pepper.
This malt was able to take the best from American oak barrels, avoiding excessive woodiness and too pronounced sweetness. All this is then embellished by those typical harsh notes of the Nordic distilleries, which we really like. In his overwhelming vertical, even Serge seems to like it; our evaluation is 87/100.
Recommended background music: a gem of Opeth – The devil’s orchard, in their turn towards progressive metal.