Balblair 1991 3rd release | 46% ABV | Bottled 2018

Balblair recently revamped their core line, doing away with the vintages but maintaining the age statements. Unfortunately, they didn’t maintain their price points. Anyway, this is a version from their “old” range, though still quite readily available. A mix of ex-bourbon casks and 1st fill sherry butts, the whisky was all distilled in 1991 and bottled in 2018. It’s the third 1991 release, the previous ones being in 2009 and 2011. It’s bottled at a respectable 46% ABV.

Colour: Gold

Nose: Oranges and tangerines, stewed apple and a hint of dried plums. The sherry butt influence is clear here, but not overwhelming at all. Honeyed oak and popcorn from the American casks. Some spice too, like cinnamon and saphron. A very complex, layered yet very harmonious nose.

Palate: The complexity continues here. Orange zest and lime, a slightly tangy note. The stewed fruits are here too, but more in the background. A very refined vanilla flavour. Honey, oak and tobacco leaf. A herbal note too, I’m thinking bay leaf.

Finish: Medium long. Coca Cola, salted caramel. Figs and peanuts too, didn’t expect those but they are welcome nonetheless.

89/100

This is quite simply wonderful. A good presentation, quality casks and spirit that is allowed to mature. The complexity yet coherency of this Balblair is striking. Around €150 at the moment, but it’s discontinued.