Recently Balblair have switched to using age statements instead of vintages. I can understand the marketing effectiveness of it, since vintages don’t really mean anything unless you also clearly state when something was bottled.
This one, however, was bottled in 2017, so we’re talking about a 17 or 18 year old whisky here. From both ‘sherry and American oak casks’. This doesn’t state it necessarily, but it insinuates that the sherry cask is European oak.
Shamefully, and I have said it before on the blog, Balblair isn’t a regular sighting in The Netherlands. Strange, since it’s a very popular style of whisky, and the level of quality versus the price per bottle is exceptional. Let’s see if this one lives up to my personal expectations!
Quite some oak, with dry baking spices and a little bit of bitterness to it. Dried apricots, dates, and some Speculaas (which is more baking spices). Some crushed black pepper, but mostly sherry and fruit.
Gentle, dry and oaky. Lots of fruit, lots of baking spices and quite a peppery taste. The dryness accentuates the pepper even more. The bitterness in the fruit is still present, like on the nose. Gentle, but not without a bite. Sherry, some custard like sweetness and marmalade.
The finish veers away from the spices a bit, and becomes more focused on the wood and the bitterness from the fruits. Still sweet, but a bit less so than before.
1999 was 18 years ago when this was bottled, and that’s noticeable. I still think of whisky from 1999 to be young, but that’s just because that actually was young when I started getting into Single Malt.
This one is, maybe, a little bit straight forward, but absolutely not without its merits. Quite some depth and quite a lot of flavors to be discovered. Nice and fruity, but nothing that surprised me. A rather predictable, but very tasty whisky. No wonder the bottle is going very fast…
Balblair 1999-2017, 3rd release, Sherry and American oak casks, 46%. It shouldn’t set you back more than € 100, and is regularly discounted.