Balblair is working its way into my favourite list – Tomatin, Arran, Springbank, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Bruichladdich… Balblair?
This was a tweet tasting organised by the distillery of 3 different casks – none of which are currently slated for release. The final, sherry cask is the sister cask of the TWE cask I reviewed here. Before that we have a straight bourbon cask, and a cask that previously held peated whisky.
Balblair 2000, Cask 1350, 53% A+
2nd fill ex-bourbon
Nose - Immediately enticing. Fresh, clean fruit, some bright but rich wax, sour cream, hard icing. Lots of cereal. Coconut icecream. Some tiramisu. Then some nuts - almonds in cream, toasted cumin and dried flowers- very floral behind it. Rather lovely! What water somewhat creamier and more floral.
Body - Very sweet, floral and then very hot. Hot wax and hot wood, spicy black pepper and a balanced hint of sulphur. Some acrylic paint, some ginger.
Finish - Long, very sweet, almost cloying. Then spicy, hot and bitter wood.
Beautiful nose on this one, quite challenging and hot but rather drinkable. Lots of cereal though, quite a young impression.
Balblair 2000, Cask 0191, 52.4% A⊕
Second fill ex-bourbon, previously used for peated whisky.
Nose - Sweet and meaty, like roast game and cranberry jelly. Just the merest wisp of peat here, juniper and pork fat like a good paté. Great cask influence. Elegant and fascinating on the nose, but almost vinegar sour. With water, more soft liquorice and balanced by bitter wood.
Body - Spicy, toasted crispbread, quite bitter and sour but with a lingering fruity back drop. With water, more warm wax comes through, more crayon and toasted barley. Then more herbal notes - fried parsley and ripe mango.
Finish - Long, burnt, balanced. Burnt toffee. Burnt cinnamon stick. Eventually very bitter.
This is a fascinating and seriously delicious dram, again quite challenging and a bit angular. Great fun and seriously drinkable.
Balblair 2000, Cask 1345, 53.1% A⊕+
First fill oloroso sherry butt.
Body - Intensely fruity, then dusty sherry. Balanced and becoming more fruity with wax and chocolate. Just beautiful. With water, more sherry but still balanced
Finish - Long, dusty and fruity, deodorant and wood, ending in waxy wood and a little peppermint crisp. Just beautiful.
This is another storming, massively sherried Balblair, like the TWE one.
Talking of which, compared to the TWE one (cask 1343) this is softer, more juicy. The 1343 is more strident, a little more winey. They’re both good in slightly different ways - can’t call a winner. On the body, this is very sherried, massive finish and significant bitterness, and the 1343 is even more sherried, slightly more sulphured which is more evident in the finish - drying and tannic compared to deeply sweet and softer. Again they’re both good but the 1345 ends better. Close call though.