During our first visit to Scotland, one of the distilleries we enjoyed the most was Balblair: we still don’t know if the spark was fired by the style of the malt, with its wonderful mix of fruit and minerality, or by the pretty young girl that who led us during the distillery tour. Anyway, today our greedy hands are on a sample of the 1990 vintage: it’s the second release and it was bottled in 2014, so it’s 24 years old, unchillfiltered and natural colour, diluted at 46%.
N: nice, nice nose, with a freshness immediately attractive. Vivid sultanas and cherries under spirits, with a huge tropical fruits basket. Ripe bananas and juicy peaches. Indeed, a juicy and sumptuous nose, enriched by a thick layer of custard and vanilla. Biscuits and hazelnuts. It’s buttery and even slightly mineral (butyric acid and glycerine).
P: compared to the nose, it loses some of that surprising freshness. Its age is now more evident: 24 years are not small potatoes. Therefore, the palate is dominated by spices, warm oak and dried fruit (plenty of hazelnuts, again). There’s also a pleasant vegetal side, almost mentholated, often present in whiskies of this age. The fruit is macerated and sugary, incredibly mellow (peaches, apple pie, red fruits in alcohol). Shortbread, apricot croissant and a little bit of orange.
F: very persistent and malty. A sense of brioche and the right amount of oak. It shows breathtaking suggestions of red fruits and shortbread.
What a joy: this Balblair is “different”. First of all it’s complex, and complexity is not common among whiskies from this distillery, which often show a wonderful nose and average palate. Secondly, it’s surprising, because it’s juicy in the nose and deeper in your mouth. Considering the current market, it’s also reasonably priced (almost 120 euro). Highly recommended to all the sherried profile lovers: 90/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Merk&Kremont – Sad Story (Out of Luck).