Balblair 8, 2012-2021, Sherry Cask 3232, 57.8% – Blackadder Raw Cask

This is a bottle I recently used in a tasting. I got it based on the fact that it scores ridiculously high on Whiskybase, if you know where to look.

As it turns out, this is a split cask between Blackadder itself, used for the 25th anniversary of the brand. The other participant in the cask split is the ‘Southern Drammers Whisky Club‘ in Israel. The pure Blackadder one scores 87.18 (88 when I bought it, before the tasting), but the Israeli one scores over 90.

Of course, people tend to rate things they chose themselves higher. If it was my cask I might be more thrilled with it too. But anyway, an average of a high 88 for an 8 year old whisky by a brand that had slipped down my rankings over the years is interesting. Let’s investigate!

Image from Sieberts Whiskywelt in Munich

Sniff:
Lots of sharpness and leather, charcoal. Very dark on the fruity side, so the raisins, the plums and the dates, all with seeds, stones and twigs for bitterness. Almond paste too. Far in the background there’s a whiff of chlorine or something chemical.

Sip:
The palate still has a lot of sharpness and fierceness but there’s also a lovely sweetness. Not youth and pastry notes but more like candied pecans and dates. Even though it’s a sherry’d single malt, it’s not unlike some bourbons. Quite some oak, almonds, and no trace of that chemical stuff.

Swallow:
The finish shows some more leather than the palate did, with hints of twigs and seeds. A long lasting flavor of dried fruits and spiced cake. Dried fruits, definitely sherry and deliciousness.

This whisky is ridiculously clunky, but it’s also very tasty. Clunky in the way that it’s far from smooth or gentle, or even comforting. This is a fight, in a way, but a good one. You’ll have to get over the initial blast of fierce leather and sherry.

I don’t think it’s good enough, or complex enough to warrant the 90 points, but I am on the fence between 87 and 88. I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for. When tasting this in a line-up it’s a fun and impressive dram. When settling down for the night with a book it’s too brash.

Still, I do really like it.

88/100

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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