Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
43.0 % Vol.
50 ml 700 ml 750 ml
Added on
08 Jun 2010 7:47 pm

Average value

€ 130.55

8 × in wishlist

58 × member ratings

114 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Balblair 1997

11 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 83.84 points

  1. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur


    Not sure I’ve reviewed the 2009-bottled 1st release, though I’ve very possible drunk more 1997 vintage Balblair than any other whisky. It kicked off my malt madness big time when I bought a bottle in duty-free in the same year, a choice I made primarily because of the name and packaging.

    N: It’s a vintage so we know there can’t be older stuff in here. Apples and pears says ‘young’ right, except there’s some reference to an older dunnage-y layer though its flour and grist notes that give much of the textural depth. Indeed, those soft ripe fruits [throw in sharp limes and soft bananas] are covered in a light floury cake dough – a la GlenMo. What’s not to like? Nothing. A reference to it? Early-days Mackmyra Bruks though I haven’t tried it in recent years. Then came along a Cadenhead’s Small Batch 11yo [WLP88] to reinforce the likeness between Balblair [GlenMo] and Mackmyra. Of this official 1997 Balblair, there’s something so relaxed yet pristine at its heart with fruit oils personified. As well as being a distillery tour in a glass, under those fruits and oils, tomato soy wasabi umami undertones,…. Enough already!

    T: This will appease those who find Balblair’s earlier/older vintages to be a little woody. There’s a perfect marriage of spirit and oak here, so much so, it’s hard to spot the join. Comes in [neat] and sits there, landing somewhat in a playful clumsy heap. Add water for more breadth but it’s the softness that I like, like a curled up soft fluffy ball of floury crushed fruits. Play with water for varying textural layers. On the turn, the barley flour-like banana-softness turns more towards sour sharp fruit skin tannins.

    F: More of those floury sour yet ripe fruits with a little ground white pepper to compliment the savoury-sour doughy apple skin/calvados qualities. Cut apple at the tail with [synthetic] dry peach, dried banana, candy banana, hints of dried pineapple and just a touch of dry fruity congealed oiliness.

    C: I could chug this back all night. Love the stuff. Compare this to Balblair’s current 12yo [WLP79], a different world. Stunning maturity at 11-12 years.

  2. Gaija scored this whisky 86 points Expert Senior

    [Quick festival note] Nice classic Balblair, excellent daily dram as most are. Still an underestimated distillery methinks.
    • Nose
      86 86
      A very nice floral-fruity combo as often with Balblair, citrus skins, vineyard peach, honeysuckle.
    • Taste
      86 86
      Slightly drier but similar all in all, with the flowery theme still going on, honey, stone fruits.
    • Finish
      85 85

  3. Joband scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    Young and bright. Not bad at all.
    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      85 85

  4. wisekycourse scored this whisky 81 points Connoisseur

    On the nose, the malt simply, then a vanilla milk caramel sweetness and spices

    On the palate, various spices and lemon

    In the final, astringent return, and little final actually!
    cream, malty velvety sweetness, subtle fruit, intense malt, vanilla and lemony back.

  5. KayMeertens scored this whisky 85 points Connoisseur

    Blind tasting of a sample. At cask strength this would have been a really god whisky.
    • Nose
      Peach, apple, honey, vanilla, orange, blossom, banana and a little caramel. With water more orange.
    • Taste
      Honey, orange, vanilla, caramel and wax.
    • Finish
      Honey, caramel, vanilla, peach and chestnut.

  6. Erik Elixir scored this whisky 84 points Connoisseur

    N: fruity - pear, vanilla, citrus, gooseberries, figs, honey and spices - cinnamon
    T: fudge, citrus - lemon, honey, some white pepper, ginger and apple
    F: medium drying with wet carton, citrus - lemon and chocolate

  7. Xstream scored this whisky 75 points Expert Senior

    I`m a Balblair fan. Actually it`s the brand that got me interested in whisky. 

    I had some older ones at the whisky bar. They were delicious. I bought this one, because the shop didn`t have the one i was looking for. A bit younger.

    You can taste it`s younger. The alcohol is not totally integrated with the flavors. Giving it a tad more strong spirit like smell and flavor, ruining some of the other, mostly sweet, flavors. Almost a tad chemical. 

    Letting it rest for a while does improve the balance. The smell becomes more and more caramel, honey and brown sugar. Creamy, buttery and vanilla. 

    The taste does still have that very spirit like base, which is a let down for me. All the other flavors are spot on, but it`s just not totally integrated. But the mouthfeel is quite smooth. 

    I love the warm burn of the finish, giving it a medium linger with peppery and sour citric fruits. Quite smooth.  

    It`s not as good as some other Balblairs i`ve had. I prefer their older ones. Still a nice drink though. Too bad about the strong spirit flavor. 

  8. Nethar did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    I don't like this kind of Highlands whiskies usually, but this one is great!
    • Nose
      creamy sweetness, pears, cinnamon roll, pumpkin compot, honey, wonderful
    • Taste
      cake - so sweet, little bit peppery
    • Finish
      smells nice, hot and strong, some grapes later and pineapple

  9. HunterRomario scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    If this is Highland, I have another reason to look for similar bits. For me the surprise of the year.
    • Nose
      Beautifully sweet, over the glass of sweetly sweet nuts, in the glass the fragrance is even more concentrated and sweeter, very original, I feel a green apple.
    • Taste
      Beautifully complemented with sweetness with the pungency, the sweetest whisky I drank.
    • Finish
      In the flavor, it passes sophisticated through pricklyness to a very pleasant bitterness.

  10. Collector57 scored this whisky 88 points Expert Senior

    This is an excellent malt.   I have a feeling it may not last long.
    I love the 1966 38yo too, so it seems I may have to investigate the other vintages now.
    • Nose
      Oranges and bananas, los of barley sugar and a little oaky spice. Very nice nose. After a few minutes a very faint library smell.
    • Taste
      The barley sugar is there, with maybe some apples? Then some vanilla custard. Very nice mouthfeel
    • Finish
      Surprisingly long, very sweet custard and cream. Spicey too. All the fruits are there.


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