Overall rating
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
2nd Fill American Oak Casks
Number of bottles
46.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
13 Mar 2011 6:42 am

Average value

€ 690.00

27 × in wishlist

45 × member ratings

96 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Balblair 1978

6 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 89.56 points

  1. Indianerhäuptling scored this whisky 91 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      92 92
    • Finish
      90 90

  2. WhiskyLovingPianist scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    N: There’s instant delight on the nose immediately after finally opening this old vintage. The distillery character is true to form - namely, youthful enthusiasm on mature shoulders. I’m nosing pleasing sweet=sour lemons, pineapples, a little chalk & oiled putty, almond milk, savoury flapjack, sweet mushrooms sauce, potpourri, new-leathery things, herbs [dill & mixed italian herbs] and dank, old, oak casks. It’s a little buttery but moving determinedly towards an oily viscosity.
    T: A little water to soften it and its all systems go. Quite some dry [lemon] grass to work through as it appears to be a hardy number. Indeed theres plenty of power here too with some buttery=waxiness on the palate as it develops. Add some more water and its getting biscuity as the ‘dad noises’ start. Lemon, melon and apple fruit notes open out along with orange Opal fruits and Terry’s chocolate orange. Its a little drying. A month later: sweet, pokey-sour lemons neat, floral, sugared, lemon, bouquet with water. More dank cask notes showing. With water also, theres a moorish & encapsulating mouthfeel with a balanced oily=waxy coating, a floral, aromatic palate and an increasingly malty/lemon development. A little hazy at the apex.
    F: Vanilla-bourbon notes try to burst free of the commanding astringent>dry, grassy, orange<citrus direction, and do so triumphantly. Closes with an appropriate, dank/old oak reprise. 
    C: For fans of Balblair's beautifully distinctive distillery style, this will be as a treat. Gains plenty more marks with water which brings a subtle, yet fine finish.

    Scores a B[+]

    Last dram of this lovely bottle

    N: Instantly recognisable as a Balblair, theres no other distillery that has this profile. Its why when the 1997 vintage WB came out, it was so well received - because it shared such a family resemblance to the likes of these old boys. This has a changing and swirling profile, many of the notes come back round as if placed on a carousel. On the one hand its a bit chalky and pokey. On the other, theres plenty of dank yet spicy wood on show equal to the sour [Iranian] lemons, orange=rose water and waxy fruits. With water and time its an honest, natural, dram, rather speyside like with its sour>sweet lemon notes and subtle oily-oak notes matching the still-in-tact barley cereal. Also of note is de-icer, old [leather] car seats and ‘Feu Orange’ air-freshners. The decade we are in appears irrefutable.

    T: Swirling sour-sweet-sour-sweet arrival and development, sometimes grassy, a little biscuity, sometimes a little chocolate-caramel. Ever dry & grassy=chalky, more so neat. Water brings subtle yet clear bourbon notes that stretch out before the finish. Gets a little clogged up before the transition, but the best is yet to come.

    F: Melon & vanilla Opal fruits, moving sweet<=>sour>sweet<=>sour. Soft caramel, white chocolate and raspberry cocoa powder at the finish perfectly compliment the aniseed and more so the sour-grassy-lemons - lemon grass? Its a deceptively long, very long finish - the soft caramac-caramel and sour grassy notes quietly swimming around each other like graceful dolphins until the sun goes down. Old, sour. dank wood reigns supreme - a similar story from the 25yo Glenalba WB, well, wood is wood.

    C: Water management is key. I added a few teaspoons to each dram and experimented with additional water in the mouth. Too little and it was dry and chalky, too much and it became too basic. Get it just right and a plethora of joy awaits. The 2009 and 2010 releases seemingly gain more commendations, but this, the first release has much to give especially on the finish - one of THE finest finishes from Balblair or otherwise.

    Final scores a B+ [89]

    Further reading  [WF]88[’09]-[WF]89[’10] // WM80[8] WM85[1][’09]

  3. franpincoffee scored this whisky 94 points Expert Senior


    This single malt comes from second-fill bourbon casks, and the nose is complex and spicy with cloves, nutmeg, and just a hint of almonds. The taste is caramel and brown sugar, cloves, hazelnut, and allspice, and the finish has notes of cloves and brown sugar with a touch of honey.

  4. molar3rd scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    Nose: Spice with cloves,Some berries and Plums. Lovely stuff!

    Palate: heavier with Coffee, dark chocolate, leather some plums again, and chocolate truffles. yummy stuff.

    Finish: Long, with Tobacco and dried fruit.

    We finished the tasting with a real treat : a peated new make. As i mentioned before, Balblair now produces also a peated variation of its spirit to be blended into some Thai whiskies (yes, yes). The barley is peated to 79 ppm (wow!). John told us he’s keeping a few casks to be aged on site, and he will be monitoring them closely for the next 10 years and see how they develop. Maybe we’ll see a peated single malt from Balblair in a few year’s time? who knows, it’s exciting anyways!




  5. granella2003 did not rate this whisky Connoisseur

    • Nose
      This whisky is amber appearance, with bright golden
      highlights, it has aromas of honey, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla.
    • Taste
      On the palate it is sweet, with honey and toffee flavors, lemons and oranges.
    • Finish
       The finish is long and full

  6. mmaclean did not rate this whisky Connoisseur

    "The replacement for the 1975 in Balblair`s vintage range, the 1978 is

    about 30 years old, bottled with natural colour and is



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