Distiller: Balblair. Region: Highlands. ABV: 46%. Age: about 15 years. Price: $70-80.
It’s been a pleasure tasting my way through recent releases from Balblair, the northern Highlands distillery that proudly declares vintage years on its squarish bottles in place of age statements. This 1999 vintage was no exception.
The younger ’03 vintage, which you can think of as “Balblair 101” (as in “intro to,” not proof), was spice-forward in a very appealing way. The ’99 is too.
It starts with the loamy, mineral note–could it have been matured in ex-Dickel barrels? That’d be my guess. White, dry, gingery nose. A bit like the eye-opening Craigellachie 19, minus the spritz of sulphur. Lovely oily body with a balance of honey, malt, and spice. Finish: orange marmalade on toasted rye bread. Very nice!
If you overlooked Balblair in the past, you shouldn’t. If you’ve had it, let us know what you think!
Cheers, friends! – BO
A Balblair representation graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.