Archive for the ‘Balblair’ Category

Mackillop’s Choice Balblair 1997 (20 year old) 55.2%

Bourbon Cask 124/ Dist: May1997 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A lovely, mature nose of oxidised baked fruit along with hints of lime, barley, manuka honey and aromatic American oak. The oak becomes quite buttery with time and the barley becomes wonderfully fragrant.

The palate opens with fresher barley and citrus before the mature, baked fruit arrives. Buttery and toffee’d oak follows and the mid palate is incredibly granity with building lime and lemon notes, which adroitly balances the oak. Mouth-watering citrus finish with a touch of coffee, anise, sweet barley, straw and earth.


Balblair New Make Spirit 61.8%

Tasted: Apr 2014

A lovely soft nose of sweet cereal, biscuity malt. Lightly oiled and very peppery with a touch of perfumed rose and hyacinth.

The palate is lightly gristy and cereally with delicate floral notes. A short burst of intensely, fleshy apricot on the middle with a touch of pepper. Long, drying, peppery and malty finish.

A drop of Highland water makes the nose sweeter and softer. Less peppery but it has given it an almost rye-like herbal bite as well as emphasising the fleshy apricot, citrus and robust sweet barley. The palate is also sweeter with the apricot fruit being given a lovely granulated sugar coating. Good floral fade.

Balblair 2005 1st Release 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 2005 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Dec 2015

Beautiful, lightly honeyed nose with a Sauvignon Blanc-esque, fresh grassiness and hints of apricot, white fruit and barley. Just a suggestion of vanilla oak.

The palate opens with soft, subtle white fruit, barley and a touch of milky oak. Off-sweet apricot, pineapple and banana follow. Zippy citrus and the grassiness comes through on the middle. Lovely, fresh, mouth-watering finish with lime, grapefruit, gooseberry, white liquorice and finally a touch of acacia honey. Superb!

Balblair 2003 1st Release 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 2003 Btl: 2013/ Tasted: Apr 2014

Quite a perfumed nose with chunky oak, fleshy apricot, banana and sub-tropical fruit. The oak becomes quite creamy as some fern and grassy notes appear along with some balancing citrus notes.

The palate is quite citrusy to begin with, followed by some lightly gristy barley and soft, creamy oak. Quite full and toasty with hints of grass and herbs. Very mouth-filling middle as the oak fills out. Long, lightly peppery spice finish which is a little drying.

Balblair 2002 1st Release 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 2002 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Aug 2012

A beautifully crafted nose, clean, fresh and herbal followed by slightly gristy barley, white flowers and background oak. Quite full with a lovely depth and crisp freshness.

The palate is quite full with a touch more toffee’d oak character. Wonderfully fresh on the middle as the minerality and citrus cut through leading some crunchy barley and apricot along with a slight herbal nuance and a touch of perfumed white flowers. Really quite complex and densely fruity but light, elegant and mineral at the same time. Lovely length with some cut grass and a touch of spice. Very impressive.

Balblair 2001 ‘1st Release’ 46%

Dist: 2001 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Feb 2012

A crisp, clean and slightly grassy nose. Wonderfully endowed with green fruits. Slightly gristy with some perfumed white floral notes. Extremely pure and beautifully fresh with a soupcon of ever so slightly sweet barley. Lightly oiled with just a suggestion of spice. An absolutely divine nose!

A soft and gentle honeyed barley start. Like the nose the palate is superbly clean and fresh with a gentle oak note drifting in and building pleasantly as does the barley. A slightly mouth watering middle leads to a cut grass finish. Beautifully layered with the wood ever so slightly bittering the finish.

Balblair 1999 ‘2nd Release’ 46%

Bourbon/ Sherry

Dist: 1999 Btl: 2014 (15 year old)/ Tasted: Aug 2014

The nose displays a lovely intensity of green apple, barley and creamy American oak. The sherry adds hints of dried fruit and cinnamon but it’s the spirit that takes centre stage with a beautiful, fresh citrus and white fruit character.

The palate displays a little more of the sherry character – spicy dried fruit, prune, walnut, fig and macerated orange. Hints of barley and citrus come through on the middle however. Lightly honeyed with the citrus and lightly creamy oak become ever more noticeable. Long, fresh citrus and green apple finish with some lingering dry spices.

Balblair 1997 ‘2nd Release’ 46%

First fill American oak/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2012 (15 year old)/ Tasted: June 2013

A delicate but striking nose full of a gorgeous array of lightly honeyed white fruit, unsweetened pineapple, barley, straw and a touch of pepper. Pleasantly citrus with tangerine, lime and a touch of mature oak. I love it’s stony/ granity demeanour and with time the oak becomes pleasantly creamy.

The palate is soft, full and layered with oodles of sub-tropical apricot and pineapple, barley and some beautifully crumbly spices. Quite a piquant/ mineral middle which keep the oak under control and makes sure it stays in the background adding structure and not overwhelming the spirit. Very long, with a stony, Sauvignon blanc-esque, herbal finish. Sublime stuff.

Balblair 1990 2nd Release 46%

Bourbon/ Sherry

Dist: 1990 Btl: 2014 (24 year old)/ Tasted: Apr 2014

A beautiful combination of sawdusty American oak and mature sherry. Full, fleshy and very herbal with hints of sultana fruit cake, cinnamon and a light orange/ Satsuma. A light Cognac-esque rancio emerges but the sweet barley fills out. With time the American oak powers through giving the aromas a lovely, buttery character.

The palate is moist and succulent, like the nose it is a lovely combination of sawdusty American oak and raisinated fruit sherry. Full and mature with again an oxidised fruit rancio. Lovely spicy middle, quite peppery as well with a real black peppercorn character. Quite an oily, lightly floral finish – rose and violets plus lingering dusty, spicy dried fruit and a lightly herbal after-taste.

Balblair 1989 ‘2nd Release’ 43%

Dist: 1989 Btl: 2011 (22 year old)/ Tasted: Feb 2012

A touch oilier than the 2001 with a greater degree of oak evident, adding hints of toasted caramel. Still exquisitely clean with the perfumed note found in the 2001 attempting to come through. Late notes of white pepper, a touch of heather and some peppery spice emerge.

A gentle opening with the toasted caramel oak up first. Fuller and oilier than the 2001 with a beautiful, shimmering clean depth of mature barley and a touch of honey. Lovely depth and length with a pleasant mouth filling quality. Long, with a slightly peppered spice finish and a touch of mentholated green fruit (gooseberry?) in the finish.

Balblair 1975 2nd Release 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1975 Btl: 2012 (37 year old)/ Tasted: Aug 2012

A sensuous and mature nose with plenty of sawdusty oak and succulent, macerated fruit. Wonderfully honeyed with a slight perfumed edge to the honey. Dense, deep and exotic with the fruit bordering on the tropical.. Seriously luscious with a thin seam of smoke and light peat. This is nose is incredibly complex and layered, with an ethereal quality but at the same time a chunky depth. A late perfumed orange and touch of herbal spice add to the enjoyment.

Sensuous and deep on the palate. Malt and mature fruit intertwined with mature oak vanillins glide over the tongue. Luscious and juicy, brimming with mature honey, citrus and a slight herbal, grassy note. There are huge globs of molten herbal honey on the middle, which fades majestically into a soft, yet fresh, herbal and spicy finish. The oak grips slightly at the end but there’s still enough honey to counter that. Evocative, complex and amazingly fresh for its age. Stunning stuff!

Balblair 1965 (43 year old) 52.3%

Single American Oak Sherry Cask

Dist: Mar 1965 Btl: 2008/ Tasted Sept 2012

This is a truly beautiful nose! Gently mature and succulent, oozing mineral flecked honey and juicy barley. The aromas slowly unfurl and you can detect amazingly fresh vanilla and dusty spices. The honey begins to develop a gorgeously mature sheen and there is even some grassy notes evident. Give it some more time and really shifts into top gear. The soft apricot and citrus fruit displays a light tropical edge which is coated in some delightful perfumed orange oil. Finally the oak wakes up and adds some lovely vanilla creaminess and a very subtle hint of dried sherry fruit. This may well be mature but it has a stunning freshness.

The palate opens with some cleansing, tart citrus and light grassy notes. The mature honey begins to delightfully build along with some sumptuous, mature oak vanillins. Again the oak is distinctly more American in character than sherried. The alcohol gives it a light mouth-watering edginess and along with a distinct minerality stops the oak and honey overwhelming. Finally the spice arrives along with some lightly oiled apricot and dried fruit. Stunningly deep and majestic with the tart citrus and lightly bittering oak playing out a finale. Absolutely gorgeous and with a price tag close to £1250 you should hope so!

The Wee Dram Balblair 12 year old 46%

10th Anniversary Bottling March 2008

Sherry Cask/ Tasted: June 2008

A pleasant nose of banana fritter, coffee cream, sweet spice, syrup and toffee. Very sweet! Dry, rich and fruity on the palate, quiet deep, the flavours mirror the nose. Intense with an awful lot of wood tannins (not unexpected) and an alcoholic burn on the finish (very unexpected). With a drop of water the nose descends into a sulphury mess, the palate become quiet watery and very disappointing. If I didn’t know, I would have assumed this had been bottled at cask strength or a minimum of 50%.

Dewar Rattray Balblair Tasting Notes

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Balblair

A.D Rattray Balblair 2011 (6 year old) 59.7%

Aged in Bourbon Cask 636, re-racked into PX Hogshead 334051

Dist: 2011 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

A dense, heavy and oily nose with plenty of ‘off the still’ cereal. Hints of rose petal, heather and malt biscuits.

The palate is still quite heavy, oily and cereally, although there is a slight grassiness at work. Intensly alcoholic but it’s well contained. Youthful but sweet barley, honey and malt biscuity middle. Short, masked finish.

Water brings out some subtle sweet orange and floral barley on the nose. Still youthful and biscuity on the palate with a touch of apricot and orange fruit emerging. With more time in the cask I think this could have been quite an impressive whisky.

Dewar Rattray Balblair 1990 (17 year old) 62.4%

Bourbon Cask 1143/ Dist: 1990 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: May 2008

A fresh and slightly leafy nose. Moist and delicate with sherry coated soft yellow fruits and spice notes. It has quiet a perfumed top note along with a touch of earthiness. Very mellow and rather beguiling.

The palate is soft and juicy opening with cinnamon and sherry spices. Wonderfully fruity with a nice integration of the sherry. Lovely intense, malty mid palate. The alcohol masks the finish a bit and there is quiet a bit of wood tannins too! A drop of water emphasises the leafy, camphor and menthol on the nose and soften the palate in order to reveal the array of peppery spices, which really evolve! It lengthens but the tannins are still noticeable. All in all a lovely mellow sherry monster(ish) cask!

Dewar Rattray Balblair 1991 (19 year old) 46%

Bourbon Cask 09/0307 / Dist: 1991 Btl: 2010/ Tasted: May 2010

A high toned nose of grassy orange fruit and some rose petal marc, which was surprising given its age. Slightly soapy and gristy. Overtime it comes earthier and the oak adds a coffee note. The palate is delicately oily with soft orange fruit, earth and maturing honey. The alcohol for 46% is quite intense. Reasonable length with a pleasant dry, grassy finish.

A drop of water makes the nose very winey, with the grassiness taking on a Sauvignon Blanc character. It has a lovely perfume now and is fresher and more luscious.  However the same can’t be said for the palate, it become a tad watery, homogenised and candied.

Dewar Rattray Balblair 1991 (19 year old) 46% – Sample at 61.1%

Bourbon Cask 3294/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Oct 2011

A beautiful, mature nose. Slightly gristy with plenty of brusque citrus fruit along with hints of earth and lightly coffee’d spices. Superb depth with a slight perfumed top note.

Intense and juicy on the palate. Quite earthy and alcoholic but there is a lovely dollop of mature honey and toasted coffee beans on the middle. The combination of alcohol and bitter oak masks the finish.

With water (an approximation of what it will be like at 46%). Oooh that’s a stunning nose! Dipping in all manner of luscious honey aromas. A delightful tangerine/ orange note has now appeared along with hints of clove and cinnamon. The brusque citrus and granity notes balance wonderfully. The palate is luscious and super smooth now. With the alcohol now in check it allows the sumptuous orange fruit and spices to shine and the palate to fill out. That gentle mature honey now coats the mouth and offsets the bitter oak on the finish.

This is an absolute steal at this price!