Blair Athol 1988 28 Years Old (Signatory Vintage)
Blair Athol from 1988 almost has a sort of cult following. Signatory Vintage has a lot of sherry casks from that vintage, and over the last three or so years they’ve released plenty of them. There are a lot of people going mad for this stuff. My experience with them have been mixed.
A little while ago one was bottled for The Whisky Exchange, which I found very agreeable. Then there was one bottled by Van Wees (who get their casks from Signatory Vintage). That one had a sliver of sulphur and was a bit off, but nothing compared to the one I’m reviewing today.
Blair Athol 1988 28 Years Old (54,5%, Signatory Vintage, C#6843)
Nose: Sulphur, right from the get go. Maybe it needs to breathe for a little while? Well, it does get a little meatier, and less sulphuric. Let’s move on. This has notes of vanilla custard, wine gums, sour red fruits, as well as tobacco and caramel, with a bit of fudge too. Oh, and it becomes meatier and meatier, with touches of soy, which I like.
Taste: Dudes, stop it with the sulphur already. Like, what’s up that? Pretty dry, with some leather and… gun powder. There’s some sour cherries in the background, probably milk chocolate as well.
Finish: Dry and gun powder-y.
Okay, this has sulphur in it, which downgrades the entire experience. I’m pretty sensitive to it, so probably not everybody will pick up on it. To me however, it ruined most of the experience. I get that taste is personal, but I still don’t understand why this get a 90+ score on Whiskybase (based on almost 100 ratings). Incredible.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.