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2006 Balblair 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask No. 76 Single Spanish Oak Oloroso Seasoned Butt Cask Strength Single Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (ships as 1.5L) SKU #1485852

Price: $109.99

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Tasting Notes

The wonderful Balblair Distillery has long been under the radar. In the little town on Edderton on the northern coast of Scotland at the southern edge of the Dornoch firth, this great distillery has never garnered the fan fare of it's prominent neighbor just a few miles down the road in Tain. The distillery was originally founded 1790 and then rebuilt 1895, but closed during World War I. It wasn't until 1949 when Hiram Walker fired the old plant up again. Many buildings from the 1870s still stand on the site, but the excellent malt has remained more less unknown to modern drinkers. It was not until Inver House Distillers took control of the distillery in 1996 that we began to see the malt available internationally and a large investment by Thai Beverage in 2001 set a course for a new chapter in the excellent distillery's history. Over the last two decades the distillery has become famous for it's vintage bottlings and odd squat bottles. Our buyers, Andrew and David, visitedt the distillery in Spring of 2019 to select a cask and meet distillery manager John Macdonald. This barrel is Spanish Oak, unlike the vast majority of oloroso butts we see. IN addition, it held for many years oloroso wine vinified outside of the Sherry triangle about 140 miles North East in the region of Montilla Moriles. The combo of Spanish Oak and old Montilla is a rare and welcome surprise. The resulting malt is a big dark "oloroso" bomb with powerful spice and unctuous texture.

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Staff Reviews

  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    K&L Staff Member
    The vinous character of this sherry cask is a huge standout. It feels more "wine"-y than most sherry aged whiskies. It's golden raisin sweetness melts into the depth of a zesty chocolate orange. Rather than the nuttier oxidation of most Oloroso, the nose and front end of the palate shine with vinified fruit and a yeasty brilliance. The palate has loads of fudge, dusty yet sweet graham crackers, and a bit of creamy mallow. It's basically a S'more and a whole lot more in a glass. This off the radar distillery is well worth a visit next time you're up that way in Scotland - it's beautifully situated and the old dunnage warehouses are exactly what you'd hope every Scottish distilleries warehoues looked like. If you can't make it that far, just grab a glass and transport yourself there with this whisky.
  • David Othenin-Girard
    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.


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