Saturday, 4 January 2014

Ageless in Edderton

Balblair 1975 2nd Release - 46%

Simple packaging, complex content

The chaps at Balblair have done away with age statements, meaning most of us will have to sharpen up our subtraction skills....

Balblair's core range consists of whiskies sold by vintage. Ostensibly this is done to allow them to put out a whisky at its peak, as opposed to being tied to a particular age. The whiskies are presented without chill-filtration, at natural colour and, 1991 aside, at 46%. This will doubtless please the whisky anoraks amongst us while the simple boxes would suggest you're spending your hard earned money on what's in the bottle, not around it.

Old vanilla and spice. Sweet toffee notes with beeswax and a scintilla of furniture polish.

With water the spice is dampened with the citrus taking centre-stage. Waxy lemon rind is underscored by a buxom honeysuckle note.

Boisterous for a Balblair. Almost a cacophony of wood, vanilla and spice with a honeycomb bass note. Beautifully complex and yet utterly drinkable.

Water is very much playing the role of conductor here; cacophony turns to harmony and yet the complexity is not hurt one bit as the whole affair sweetens.

Medium length and low key but boy, that spice! It clings to the side of the tongue like a barnacle to a ship's hull.

If anything, water lengthens the finish. Spice is still the star of the show but sweetness now lingers giving the finish a brilliantly balanced final bow.

Balblair has put out a real corker. It's bold, balanced and considering the extensive time spent in the cask, not over-oaked in any way. Craft presentation is a plus and, purchased at £220, it's not scandalously priced when you consider it's a 37 year old distillery bottling.

Grade: A
A great, balanced, sensibly priced whisky. Somewhat punchy when compared to other vintages in the core range but constructed well enough to ensure that nothing really dominates. A top dram.

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