Monday 17 October 2016

Balblair Reviews: 2002, 1997, 1989

Hello again everyone!

Today we've got a straight vertical of some Balblairs I bought in a miniature set. For those that don't know, Balblair is a great little distillery, producing some underrated, reasonably priced whiskies in great packaging, while managing to stay away from young whisky in silly decanters, etc. 

Balblair 2002 46%
Colour: Pale Gold
Body: Light
Nose: Light and subtle. Light sweet malt with nice yeasty note, barley sugar, pastry, soft fruit in the background- Zesty lemon, some lime, fermenting fruit and a little vanilla too.
Water: A lot more light with lemon peel and lime, orange too. Some coconut coming through too.
Taste: A little sharpness on arrival, but soft, light and creamy. Lovely soft barley sugar, going even more creamy and sweet. Some citrus zest and juice- lemon, lime, building orange. Quite a bit of vanilla and a bit of spice. Drying American oak into the finish.
Water: More soft with coconut, American oak and a herbal grassy note- cut grass.
Finish: Medium length. A little spirity with yeast and lemon.
Notes: Distilled 2002, bottled 2012. 1st release. Matured in Bourbon barrels. A little too spirity.
A very reasonable malt. Light, delicate and interesting. I wonder what would happen with an extra 5 years only in 1st Fill barrels.....

Balblair 1997 46%
Colour: Pale Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: More fruity and juicy than the 2002 with more vanilla and honey. Lots of lemon, lots of apple, banana, white grape, a little pineapple and mango. A nutty note, Hessian bung cloth and nutmeg.
Water: More spicy and light nutmeg more pronounced, a little zesty lemon, toffee, butterscotch and some coffee.
Taste: A lot more fruity with a lot of apple, banana, mango and pineapple, building American oak behind. The mango and banana build with the oak and goes quite dry.
Water: More creamily fruity then more spicy with the building oak. Quite juicy then more drying and bitter into the finish. Creme brulee and coffee. Quite zesty now with lemon and lime, some orange too.
Finish: Long length. Creamy and drying with American oak and some vanilla.
Notes: Distilled 1997, bottled 2012. 2nd release. 1st Fill American oak Bourbon barrels. Old school, well made spirit matured well.
Again very good whisky.

The next one has won quite a few awards and has now been replaced by the 1990 vintage that looks a lot more Sherried. This is from Refill Bourbon Barrels I believe.

Balblair 1989 46%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Much more oaky but still rich and fruity. Mainly it's on rich toffee and vanilla with fresh green apple and raisin. Watermelon, baked banana, a little leather and wood polish with dunnage warehouse (I can't help but think about being in a warehouse smelling this whisky). Fragrant malt, barley sugar, quite floral oak and a spicy note- nutmeg and a little cinnamon.
Water: Creamier with more juicy fruit- Pineapple and mango, more floral with a grassy note, some white wine sweetness.
Taste: Rich, really fresh with lots of fruit and sweetness- toffee, mango, pineapple, then the oak kicks in with some malt- nut, leather, wood polish and drying oak and spices- nutmeg again. Baked apple, green apple citrus, sour fruit note- Sour unripe apple and maybe cherry? The oak builds and builds. Coffee and dry oak into the finish.
Water: A lot creamier arrival, gradual building development with a bit of everything- Fruit, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter. There's a more grassy note and a touch of earthiness going into the finish- Barrel char.
Finish: Long length. Lots of American oak, creamily drying with some lemon. With water there's a little chocolate.
Notes: Distilled 1989, bottled 2012. 3rd release. A little too oaky on the finish, other than that a great whisky!
Just out of the 80's, but all in all a great whisky.

Balblair really is an understated whisky with great character. 

Whisky Score Average: 78.8
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb

90+ Exquisite

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