Blind Tasting Competition 9: Blair Athol 1988, 25yo, 46% – The Ultimate

Yesterday I scored 0 points. It might that the downward spiral has begun, since today I have no clue to what this can be either. Since I barely ever have tasted Littlemill, especially none that were those recent single casks.

I did sniff this dram ahead as well just to exclude some region or type, but that didn’t really help.

Blair Athol 1988 by The Ultimate

Blair Athol 1988 by The Ultimate

At first I got a massive hit of red wine, like a Cabernet or a claret or so. Something quite sweet. Some red fruits too and dates. The nuttiness of tawny port is present too. Madeira maybe? It’s all over the place. I think I’m getting European oak in the background, with cappuccino and cinnamon candy sticks.

The palate is very gentle, but wine and port casks have been known to do that. A slight woody build up follows and it’s very sweet, like the water/port/cinnamon mixture you stew pears in. Tawny port again, cinnamon. After about half a minute there’s a sudden burst of spices like black pepper.

The finish gives me more port like tones and oak. At this point I’m convinced it’s not a sherry cask. A long finish with red fruits, walnut and date. Some cinnamon and stewed pears.

This whisky is all over the place. I find the notes to be consistent between nose, palate and finish, but I don’t want to drink something that’s this much like stewed pears and cinnamon. I just can’t wrap my head around the sweetness and non-whisky-like flavors. It’s not a really bad whisky either, but it’s just not for me.

Since it was a port cask, in my opinion, and one that had a certain edge to is I was going for a slightly increased ABV, as well as a Speysider because of the smoothness of all parts of the experience.

Boy was I wrong. It turned out to be a 1988 Blair Athol by The Ultimate, bottled from a refill Sherry butt and at 46%. 0 points again. I really have to pick things up, this bottle not being among them.

Not my cup of tea, but I bet there are lots of people who do like it. And since it’s an Ultimate bottling, it’s cheap. € 85 for a 25 year old sherry, single cask is peanuts nowadays.

Blair Athol 1988, 25yo, 46%, The Ultimate. Sold out by now.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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2 Responses to Blind Tasting Competition 9: Blair Athol 1988, 25yo, 46% – The Ultimate

  1. Pingback: Blair Ahtol 1991-2014, 46%, ‘Foraged Fruit Fool’ – Wemyss | Malt Fascination

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