This little distillery outside of Pitlochry is one of Scotland's most picturesque. Few know it well on this side of the pond, but there's a constant stream of visitors arriving to tour the famous home of Bell's Blend. This regional blend is very popular in the U.K. and we've been lucky to have a steady stream of casks coming from the lovely distillery. Located just a few clicks south of the even tinier Edradour distillery, the beautiful stone buildings were originally constructed in 1798, but closed soon after opening. Now covered in vines, the distillery reopened in 1825 only to be mothballed again a century later in 1932. Finally, in 1949 it was purchased and reopened by Arthur Bell & Sons, destined to become the heart malt for their eponymous blend. The distillery features two wash and two spirit stills and a total capacity of 2.5 million liters per year, although it's unlikely they get close to that quantity. The spirit's character is medium to full-bodied with a distinct herbal note that lends itself nicely to maturation in sherry casks. We've managed to keep these excellent first fill sherry casks at an altogether reasonable price point despite the increasing age and unbelievable quality. This is one of the more complex and savory sherry butts we'll see this year with a full body and an unctuous texture. It's not designed for those expecting sweeter flavors, but also refrains from crossing the savory line toward sulfur. This butt turned out 262 bottles at cask strength.
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By: Andrew Whiteley
K&L Staff Member
There is major concentration in this 24 year old from Blair Athol. The sherry butt yielded only a miniscule 249 bottles. Heavy maple syrup dominates the nose. Sweet grapes and their dried counterparts abound. Lots of spicy gingersnap and a decadent cranberry syrup poured over freshly baked biscuits jive with wild honey and candied nuts. It strikes a bit hot at first although the 55.6% ABV isn't outrageous. With a little bit of water - lookout world. It retains all of its intensity and just softens out the edges. Amazingly the price on these wonderful BA casks has changed little - even as more and more people learn about this hidden gem.
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