I am still not used to Balblair’s new look, but at least today’s review is of a vintage bottling. That’s what it is by default because it is a single cask. Not that long ago all Balblair did was release vintage bottlings. With their shift to regular age statements, the brand sure has become stale, less vibrant and maybe even somewhat boring. Thank god for single cask releases such as this Balblair 2005, which was exclusively bottled for The Whisky Exchange.
Ex-bourbon matured Balblair can be a sight to behold, but we don’t see them too often. Firstly because the independents rarely get their mits one a cask. Secondly because the distillery almost always uses a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry maturation. Of the core range, only the Balblair 12-year-old is an exception. And now there’s this ex-bourbon single cask for The Whisky Exchange. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more official Balblair single casks for retailers and certain regions in the future.
Balblair 2005 (48.5%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, C#213)
Nose: Fresh notes of ripe, mealy apples and quinces, but also a touch of mint, chalk, beeswax and honey. Some galia melon, vanilla and gentle touches of marzipan, as well as some cake icing. Good stuff. Taste: It continues along the same path but with a spicy edge. Think cracked black peppercorns and cloves. But also melted butter, honey, vanilla, fennel and some more chalk. Fruity touches as well, like candied bananas and cotton candy grapes. Finish: Slightly herbal with a lingering sweetness.
Pure, sweet, fruity bourbon matured single malt. This Balblair might not be very singular, and yet you don’t encounter these kind of straightforward, well executed whiskies very often. Does that make sense? Available from The Whisky Exchange.