Distiller: Balblair. 46% ABV. No age statement (10 years old). Region: Highlands. Price: $70.
This light, sweet, fresh-smelling dram was a natural to start off what would be a long, packed night of tastings at the inaugural Axis of WhiskyFest.
Founded in 1790, Balblair is one of Scotland’s northernmost distilleries, perched next to the Dornoch Firth. The distillery moved from age statements to vintages a number of years ago, selecting, as it says, for “optimum maturation,” rather than attempting a consistent aged profile year after year.
The 2002 vintage, bottled in 2012, is a light straw color in the glass. Very sweet nose with vanilla and honey. Surprisingly viscous for the low proof. Quite sweet palate at first, following the nose, with just a wisp of white smoke. With a drop of water, light spice emerges.
A delicate, highly enjoyable first dram of the night, any night. – BO