Archive for the ‘Blair Athol’ Category

A.D Rattray Blair Athol 2009 (8 year old) 59.6%

Bourbon Cask 333334. re-racked into Sherry Hogshead

Dist: 2009 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

Aromas of herbal rye-like notes with toasted oak and edgy, spirity notes. It’s all rather un-integrated and the slightly industrial spirit notes begin to dominate.

The palate displays more barley sugar and toffee. Again it’s youthful but less spirity than the nose would suggest, maybe that’s down to a touch of honey softening the middle. A little masked with subtle herbal spice finish.

Water transforms the nose and brings out some lovely orange and tangerine, along with a touch of perfumed white fruit and barley. The palate on the other hand has become flat, cardboardy and dull, which was a bit of a surprise. Overall the re-racking into sherry hasn’t enlivened it!


Edition Spirits Blair Athol 1997 (19 year old) 50.7%

Sherry/ Code: EDI0188/ Dist: May 1997 Btl: Sept 2016?/ Tasted: Oct 2016

Slightly balsamic and treacly on the nose with a lovely, balancing, tart orange note. Aromatic, sherried dried fruit follows with hints of cinnamon and ginger. Wonderfully fresh and vibrant with a touch of barley, prunes and black pepper.

The palate is rich, dark and lightly treacly with crushed berry fruit, malt and sherry spice. Again a lovely citrus note adds balance and a touch of liquorice, stewed apple and raspberry comes through on the middle. Very complex and deep with a long, spicy and peppery finish with lingering treacle and citrus.

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Blair Athol 2010 (5 year old) 46%

Refill(?) Sherry Butt/ Dist: 2010 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Apr 2016

Fresh and barley’d aromas with hints of stewed apple and subtle, herbal sherry. A touch of vanilla, malt, green citrus and mashtun notes appear along with a late, dusty spice note.

The palate is quite sweet but a thread of tart citrus runs through it. Hints of barley, vanilla, treacle and herbal sherry. Freshens on the middle. Crisp, white fruit finish with a subtle smokiness and lingering sultana and fig. Starts of quite sweet but finishes austerely dry.


Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Blair Athol 1989 (24 year old) 57.2%

Bourbon Hogshead 6463/ Dist: Nov 1989 Btl: Oct 2014/ Tasted: Mar 2015

A beautifully honeyed and tropical nose of melon, pineapple, kiwi and apricot along with some classic, mature, sawdusty oak. Hints of grass, malt and wheat flakes appear. Stunning depth.

The palate is soft and barley’d  with hints of toffee and earthy, slightly must apricot. Definitely not as effusive as the nose and a little grubby. Hints of malt and coffee come through on the middle and the finish is quite bitter with a lingering mustiness. There is a remnant of tropical fruit on the after-taste but damn that bitterness! It’s a real shame as the nose was superb.

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Blair Athol 1989 (26 year old?) ?abv

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: 1989 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

Now that’s quite a tart nose! Vibrant and zingy lime, gooseberry and white fruit burst from the glass with a touch of dusty American oak, fragrant honey and barley. Late hints of white liquorice, coffee and earth but the gorgeously mature oak steals the show!

Now, that’s an odd palate. Celery and botanical, herbal notes open the proceedings. Tartly citric but where is the supporting oak? I really don’t like the intense celery character and the alcohol masks any further development.

With water the nose becomes oily, muted and a little cardboardy. The palate likewise doesn’t take to being diluted at all as it basically becomes cardboardy sugar water. I had a feeling this might happen. That’s a real shame after such a promising nose.

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Blair Athol 1991 (26 year old) 52.7%

Bourbon Cask 7297/ Dist: Aug 1991 Btl: Aug 2017/ Tasted: Oct 2017

A gorgeous nose of duty, mature American oak, but balanced by vibrant lime, gooseberry and fleshy apricot. Aromatic and fresh with hints of barley and charred oak.

Mellow and full on the palate with mature apricot, barley and hints of honey. Gentle, dusty oak appears along with the vibrant and zingy citrus that was on the nose. Really complex with developing, subtle oxidised fruit and coffee. Long, tangy and citric with almond, barley husks and a little drying tannin. A truly stunning whisky!

Berry Brothers Blair Athol 1989 (23 year old) 46%

Bourbon Cask 6333/ Dist: 1989 Btl 2012/ Tasted: May 2014

A dusty nose of mature oak with fragrant honey and plenty of fresh citrus and stony notes. Dense but pleasantly balances with a touch of sweet spice along with a late grassy top note.

The palate is light and soft. A little watery and not as complex as the nose but there is some pleasant mature oak and light honey. A granity barley middle leads into an austere citrus finish, which surprisingly is a little hot. In conclusion it has a lovely nose but a distinctly average palate.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 1996 (15 year old) 50%

Sherry/ Code: OMC2277/ Dist: Oct 1996 Btl: June 2013/ Tasted: July 2013

Quite a high toned but lightly aromatic nose. Malty with hints of brioche, honey and light sherrywood spices. Slightly custardy with hints of dried orange and peach.

Soft and fruity with apricot, cooked apple and a touch of dried fruit, malt and cinnamon. Pleasant notes of barley and dried spice come through on the middle. Medium length with the spices lingering and a sweet, malty after-taste.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 1995 (21 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OMC2627/ Dist: Aug 1995 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

Aromas of herbal and nutty sherry mingle with malt and baked fruit. Quite balsamic with developing fragrant barley and honey. Well balanced wit the herbal notes becoming rather botanical and junipery.

The palate is malty and dense with balsamic treacle and herbal sherry cask notes. Very soft and subtly nutty with plenty of mineral and citric notes. Good length with the barley and honey coming through and finishing with a touch of coffee’d tannins.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 1995 (21 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt?/ Code: OMC2711/ Dist: Oct 1995 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Aromas of burnt coffee grains, treacle and hints of malt. Fragrant, pruney and grapey dried fruit follows along with some subtle spicy wood tannins and herbs.

The palate is pleasantly fresh and opens with vanilla and toffee before the sherried dried fruit, milk chocolate, treacle and slightly gritty tannins arrive. Long and slightly citric with lingering malt, milk chocolate, dry tannins and a touch of old marc.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 1995 (22 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OMC2739/ Dist: Sept 1995 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

Delicate, Armagnac-eque dark fruit aromas with French coffee and hints of crystalised violets, nutmeg and coriander powder. Some lighter, sweeter, dried fruit (apricot and lemon) appears along with some subtle Oloroso herbal notes.

The palate dispolays subtle sherried dried fruit – prune, walnut and ginger. Lovely depth with a touch of dark chocolate and spice on the middle. Long, citric and duty oak finish with lingering walnut, coffee and chocolaty spices.


Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Blair Athol 2009 (7 year old) 46%

Bourbon?/ Wine Finished

Code: HEP0232/ Dist: Apr 2009 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Dec 2016

A dense, toffee’d and herbal nose with sweet red fruit, marzipan and almost astringent, edgy gooseberry, nettles. There is an almost refill sherry herbaceous character, which asks whether it was sherry matured before being finished in the wine cask.

Full, creamy and toffee’d on the palate with very prominent winey notes. Hints of herbs, coffee and barley follow and again it has an almost refill sherry character. Quite sweet on the middle but the finish is short, sharp and quite fresh, but the syrup note returns on the finish.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Blair Athol 2009 (7 year old) 46%

Refill Sherry Butt/ Code: HEP0246/ Dist: Apr 2009 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

Slightly ascetic aromas of herbal barley and a touch of oak. Freshens with time as hints of Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry notes appear.

The palate is a little insubstantial to begin with, opening with the Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry notes, followed by barley, white fruit and subtle oak. Good fresh finish with a gentle sherry spice note developing and picking up in intensity towards the end.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Blair Athol 2002 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: HEP0032/ Dist: Nov 2002 Btl: July 2014/ Tasted: Aug 2014

The nose is a little spirity with barley and straw-like white fruit.

The palate is fuller than the nose with hints of toffee, barley, straw and a little sweet-ish, warming spice. Good length with lingering chilli spice. Quite a tongue tingler in fact!

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Blair Athol 2002 (12 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: HEP0095/ Dist: Oct 2002 Btl: Mar 2015/ Tasted: Apr 2015

A nose of hard barley, citrus and gooseberry. Lightly gristy with hints of sugar coated lime and oak. It’s definitely a sweet & sour nose!

The palate is quite citrusy but a touch of toffee counters. Lightly baked fruit, barley, malt and dark toffee come through on the middle. Good, spicy finish with hints of milk/ dark chocolate and bitter coffee.

Gordon & MacPhails ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ Blair Athol 1997 (13 year old) 43%

Refill Sherry Hogshead/ Dist: 1997 Btl: Jul 2010/ Tasted: May 2012

An oily and slightly industrial nose. It has an odd, not totally unpleasant combination of bovril, toffee-malt, beef fat, earth and burnt wood. 

The palate pretty much mirrors the nose. Slightly industrial and beefy! It’s a bit short with some pleasant earthy spice on the finish. Again not much in the way of sherry character.

Signatory Blair Athol 1975 (28 year old) 53.9%

Re-Fill Sherry Cask 6373/ Dist: Feb 1975 Btl: Jan 2004/ Tasted: Jan 2005

A slightly estery nose with plenty of refill sherry soaked fruit. Oily and complex with orange, tangerine, peach, creamy oak, earth and a floral note. Dry on the palate, medium bodied, quite rich and sherried with oily orange, tangerine, peach fruit. Intense alcohol masks the lovely soft fruit a bit. Lovely length. With water it awakens the nose, brining out a lovely orange blossom note, whilst on the palate it sets free some honey and wood spices.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Blair Athol 1999 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0720/ Dist: Dec 1999 Btl: Aug 2011/ Tasted: Aug 2011

The aromas are exceedingly citrus in nature and a touch alcoholic, although some lovely musky perfumed white fruit emerge along with hints grass, barley, pepper and gentle oak. Fuller bodied in the mouth with plenty of malty-barley sweet fruit. A touch on the straightforward side but with a gorgeous depth. Good length with an oily, slightly candied orange finish. Very pleasant.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Blair Athol 1999 (11 year old) 46%

Sherry/ Code: PRV0729/ Dist Dec 1999 Btl: Nov 2011/ Tasted: Nov 2011

Given the very subtle sherry character on the nose I would imagine that this is from a relatively well re-used cask. It seems a bit older than 11 years with some pleasantly mature dried fruit, liquorice and old wood. With time some fresh citrusy aromas appear.

The palate is rather dampened by the natural caramel and quite a bit of wood tannin gives it a rather dry feeling. Pleasantly soft spices appear on the middle as does some liquorice coated barley. Good length with a late hint of sherried dried fruit. Unpretentious and pleasant.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Blair Athol 1999 (12 year old) 46%

Sherry/ Code: PRV0760/ Dist Jan 1999 Btl: Jan 2012/ Tasted: Jan 2012

An oily and slightly gristy nose with some pleasant sherry spice notes. The palate is soft, opening with some caramelised nuts, followed by hints of barley and spice. Quite malty and chewy on the middle with a long, toffee’d finale accented by hints of French, dark coffee.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Blair Athol 2004 (12 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: PRV1172/ Dist: Feb 2004 Btl: Mar 2016/ Tasted: Apr 2016

Fresh and grassy aromas with citrus and sweet barley, plus hints of toffee and earth.

The palate is intensly barley’d and grassy with apricot, white fruit, honey and crisp citrus. Good complexity with a touch of toffee, white chocolate, malt and liquorice on the middle. Good crisp finish with lingering barley and grass.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Blair Athol 1998(?) (15 year old) 46%

Sherry/ Code: PRV0999/ Dist: 1998(?) Btl: June 2013/ Tasted: July 2013

A sweet and aromatic bouquet of peach and nectarine along with a touch of spice. Lovely balance with just a gentle sherried richness. Hints of warm vanilla and honey.

The palate is full and slightly buttery with orange, peach and nectarine. All with a delightful castor sugar dusting and hints of spice. Again gently, yet robustly sherried with a touch of dried fruit and a long, sumptuously fruity finish.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Blair Athol 2002 (15 year old) 48.4%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0481/ Dist: Sept 2002 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Wonderfully perfumed and aromatic with lashing of tropical melon, apricot, pineapple and hints of straw and barley. Very complex with developing, almost gin-like botanicals, manuka honey and pepper.

The palate is crisp and mineral with hints of lime, honey and barley. Pleasantly fruity on the middle, if a little simple and less tropical than the nose would suggest, but the finish is good, with lingering citrus and minerals.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Blair Athol 1995 (18 year old) 48.4%

Sherry/ Code: OLD0126/ Dist: Sept 1995 Btl: Oct 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

Dense, grainy and neutral to start. Quite oily with a touch of slightly herbal barley. There appears to be a little sherry spice and a touch of chicory and that’s about it.

The palate opens with some lightly toasted toffee and creamy vanilla. Hints of citrus and soft sherried spices, which come through quite powerfully on the finish. Pleasant enough, if a little simple

Douglas Laing Old Particular Blair Athol 1993 (20 year old) 51.5%

Sherry/ Code: OLP0004/ Dist: Apr 1993 Btl: Aug 2013/ Tasted: Sept 2013

A lovely, nutty Manzanilla-esque sherry nose of green nuts, light treacle and candied orange. Pleasantly fragrant with a developing dried grape, sultana, stewed fruit and moist nutty fruitcake nuances.

The palate is dry and very nutty, opening with baked fruit, spice and treacle. Quite drying on the middle as the tannins arrive with a distinct green nuts sherried rancio. However a dollop of light syrup and the beautiful juiciness of the malt counterbalances the dryness. Very long with a mouth-watering marzipan and sweet spice finale with a light cocoa powder after-taste. A beautifully nature sherry cask.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Blair Athol 1995 (21 year old) 51.5%

Refill Sherry Hogshead/ Code: OLD0251/ DL11007

Dist: Sept 1995 Btl: Sept 2016/ Tasted: Nov 2016

A chunky, spicy, coffee’d, very obviously first-fill Oloroso nose. Very herbal with hints of baked apple and oxidised fruit.

The palate is soft and treacly with dired fruit and herbal notes. Again very sherried and obviously first-fill with hints of citrus, walnut and spice. Medium length with lingering marmalade orange and prune. A little drying and tannic on the after-taste but the treacle just about balances.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Blair Athol 1995 (21 year old) 51.5%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OLD0446/ DL11788

Dist: Nov 1995 Btl: Jun 2017/ Tasted: July 2017

The nose is quite spicy, but within those spice notes some cardboardy notes can be detected. Subtle, herbal Oloroso, dried fruit and citrus follows.

The palate is as spicy as the nose suggests with treacle, liquorice and more woody dried fruit. Subtly citric on the middle with a long, peppery spice finish. Simple, but cleaner.


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 1990 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2080/ Dist: Aug 1990 Btl Sept 2011/ Tasted: Sept 2011

A fresh, citrus (lime) infused honeyed nose with aBen Nevis like doughy character. There are some high toned, peppery marc/ rose petal notes and some edgy ripe, sherberty fruit notes too. Hmm, all quite odd it has to be said.

The palate is reasonably sweet and syrupy with hints of honey. Overall it does feel a bit flat though and bordering on the industrial. The out of left field one is hit by a plethora of pure cracked black pepper notes, which linger through to the finish. It’s a rather unusual to say the least but Douglas Laing do seem to bottle some unusual Blair Athol (see June’s Premier Barrel bottling for example!)

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask ‘Cigar Malt’ Blair Athol 1999 (12 year old) 50%


Code: OMC2027/ Dist: Apr 1999 Btl: Nov 2011/ Tasted: Nov 2011

A herbal sherry nose with spiced, dried fruit and caramel notes.

The palate all soft, sweet Oloroso’d dried fruit and nuts. Pretty straightforward, sweet and spicy right through until the end where a slight sulphur blemish appears and the tannins dry it out. Rather forgettable stuff I’m afraid to say.


Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Blair Athol 2000 (10 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PBR0094/ Dist: Sept 2000 Btl: June 2011

A most unusual nose for Blair Athol – Distinctly coastal with some herbal, sweet peat. A bit like Bowmore or Highland Park when they are in their fishy guise. Quite phenolic with a touch of burnt wood and a late soapy note. The palate is quite sweet and sugary with some phenolically enhanced white fruit and a touch ofparmaviolets and fish oils. It’s a bit simple and the finish is a bit on the hot side, plus lacking any real distillery character because of the use of peat. But it’s interesting nevertheless!

Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Blair Athol 1999 (12 year old) 46%

Sherry/ Code: PBR0110/ Dist Jan 1999 Btl: Nov 2011/ Tasted: Nov 2011

A rather high toned and spirity nose with hints of herbs and burnt caramel. Unlike the Provenance bottling this seems a lot younger, but just like the Provenance bottling the sherry is pretty subtle, maybe too subtle?

The palate is soft and quite caramelised, slightly herbal and somewhat non-descript. With time it becomes rather sugary sweet and there is a hint of dried macerated fruit. Again very subtle on the sherry oak but it does bitter out the finish.


Douglas Laing Provenance Blair Athol 2002 (14 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: PRV1246/ DL11488

Dist: Oct 2002 Btl: Nov 2016/ Tasted: Jan 2017

A dense nose of lightly herbal barley and citrus. Slightly grainy with a very subtle oak character so it’s very spirit focused. Good depth.

Dense and rich on the palate with barley, straw and honey. A little straightforward but pleasantly deep with a smidge more oak. Medium length with a granity and drying tannin finish.

Diageo ‘Flora & Fauna’ Blair Athol 12 year old 43%           

Tasted: June 2004

A rich, moist, cake-like nose of lemon grass,Assam tea and a hint of peat. Silky smooth with spiced cake, candied lemon peel which develops in the mouth. Lightly smoky on the finish with a touch of treacle.

Diageo Flora & Fauna Blair Athol 12 year old 43%

Oloroso Sherry/ Re-Tasted: June 2012

A rich and powerful, nose of clean Oloroso sherry. Juicy dates mingle with raisins and a slight perfumed note. Quite malty with a touch of smoke and burnt wood. Exceedingly juicy and seamless with a late coffee note. 

The palate is lovely and soft with some slightly sweet toffee, juicy dates, raisins and walnutsall coated in a light milk chocolate-syrup. Mouth-filling and robust with a lovely creamy mouth feel. Long and precise with the milk chocolate note linger and a touch of spice in the finish.