Reviewed by: Richard
Up until I had the bottle in my hands, I’d not heard a lot about Balblair Distillery, and as you do, did a bit of research in to it…
It’s a Scotch whisky distillery located in Edderton, Ross-shire, Scotland. Originally founded in 1790, the distillery was rebuilt in 1895 by Charles C Doig, and so good was its original water source that the rebuilt distillery chose to ignore a nearby burn in favour of the original Ault Dearg burn. To this day, the Balblair Distillery continues to use this original water source.
Balblair has one of the oldest archives in distilling, with the first ledger entry dated 25 January 1800. John Ross himself penned that first entry, which read: “Sale to David Kirkcaldy at Ardmore, one gallon of whisky at £1.8.0d”. Ahhhhh, the good old days when you could get a gallon of whisky for under 2 quid…
The distillery is owned by Inver House Distillers Limited, whose other distilleries include one of my favourites, the Old Pulteney Distillery as well as Balmenach Distillery.
The Balblair distillery is unusual in the use of vintage dates rather than age statements. This means that Master distiller Stuart Harvey has more flexibility with its offerings and it provides the drinker with a ‘snapshot’ of that moment in time rather than a stationary age statement.
So, enough rambling – on with the review – so, this one I have in my hand is:
Balblair 2000 (2nd Release) 43.0% in an ex-bourbon cask
Colour: rose gold
Nose: Sweet and creamy – almost custardy! Apples & Manuka honey, toasted bread…
Palate: Beautiful malty palate with straight up vanilla & coconut, hints of honey & toffee apple and coconut. Nicely balanced with a lovely mouthfeel. Let it sit for a while, you’ll get tinned pears, vanilla ice cream. This is a great whisky – super drinkable (just ask Mooresey!)
Finish: long! With vanilla and some dry oaky wood
I found it did not need water… (I tried adding some, and while the nose picks up some more floral notes, the body & character drops away, and the whisky becomes way too soft and mellow)
All in all, a delicious whisky… one that I have gone back to many times now! (perhaps too many times by the looks of the bottle!) Rumour has it they have made a similar whisky but used Sherry Barrels instead of Bourbon… perhaps I shall try and track it down, and see how it compares, but that’s a story for another day…