Balblair 15, 46%

A short title if there ever was one. No weird cask mentions and no bottler. Just, the regular edition. I don’t have too many of these regular ones. Especially not Balblair since that is somehow pretty hard to get in the Netherlands.

Just one is either in or out of the daily drinking category, depending on when and where you buy it. I know the regular 70cl bottle is pretty steep, but this one is a liter. Normally it’s € 90, but it has been discounted to € 65 for ages now. And 65 bucks for a liter of sherry finished Balblair 15 years old is a good deal.

I visited the place in 2013 with Anneke and Ot, who was then only 9 months old. She was allowed in the carrier-back-pack thingy, except in the still room which is too small to properly navigate without a baby strapped to your back, let alone with one.

A good tour, I skipped the tasting because of driving (did take samples though) and since then a lot has changed. Distillery Only bottlings have gotten far more expensive, and they suddenly started using age statements. Easier to understand but I kind of liked the vintages. It was something rather unique about them.

So, the whisky then.

Sniff:
Sweet with lots of fruit, some barley and some oak. The fact that it’s 15 years old is noticeable, with a nice balance between the wood and the spirit. The barley gets more prominent after a few seconds, but the fruit stays there. Plums, figs, mango. Pretty tropical. It also has that crisp coastal scent, with just a tinge of salinity on the nose.

Sip:
The palate is pretty sweet, with some black pepper for some heat. Minor dryness from the oak, with a bit of wood spice. Nutmeg and clove, mostly. The fruit is a little bit lighter than on the palate. More towards fresh tropical fruits instead of dried. Some sweet orange, some tangerine, some mango.

Swallow:
The finish has quite a big flavor. It’s a bit of a mash between the palate and the nose. Lots of fruit, with both the cask and the sherry having their impact. Surprisingly long for what I was expecting.

This is actually quite a nice whisky. It’s not life changing but I never expected that. Apart from this having been used in two different tastings (so that was about 25 to 30 cl gone), I went through this bottle quite quickly.

As said above, this is at the level of a daily drinker, but quite a luxurious one. The price, especially since the discounted price seems to be the new normal for this one, is really good.

If you like fruity sherry, a bit of oak and something not ridiculously complex, but just quite comfortable, this is a good pick.

85/100

Balblair 15, 46%, bottled in 2019, available for € 65 (for a liter!) in Leiden

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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