By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
The wonderful Balblair Distillery remains more or less unsung except for a few lucky drinkers who go out of their way to find releases from this special distillery. Gordon & Macphail has also bottled a number of extremely high quality casks, as well as include the line in it's wonderful "Distillery Label" series. Our first cask of Bablair came last year with the opening up from most of the Inver House Distilleries to this new wave of OB Single Cask bottlings we're currently seeing. So we thought it appropriate to see the distillery and traveled to the very north of Scotland to meet Distillery Manager John Macdonald. He's good fun and a wealth of knowledge, but the real star of the day was this awesome casks from 2006. There were some older whiskies on offer that day, but this bad boy checked all the boxes and amazingly the distillery honored the pre-tariff pricing that was agreed upon when we ordered back in Spring of 2019. Let's see how it tastes. Color: Auburn. Nose: It starts a bit subtle, which is a surprise considering the color. With some air we start to take off! Graham crackers, christmas cake, sandalwood, coffee caramel candy, burnt seville orange peel and english breakfast. Palate: Full bodied. Weight round oily. Up front dried golden raisins, roasted almonds, building clove and touches of pepper. Long, lingering, warming spice builds on the finish. A tiny drop of water opens the nose, but retains the a similar profile. Adding red fruits, cherries and currents, one the palate we've totally opened up. The spice is turned down a bit with the caramel and dark cherry coming through up front. As it travels tons of sweet orchard fruits -apricots, plums and poached pears- come through. Extremely open and drinkable after a drop of water, but never dropping the bold complexity and unbelievable texture. This is probably a sleeper considering how few people understand the potential of this great distillery, but few sherried malts will offer so much and cost so little this year. IF the Glendronach 11 year wasn't bold enough for you, than this gorgeous cask will probably suit you perfectly.