T: Sharp and tannic - spirit-sweet, peppery and spicy citrus arrival, staying that way for a while until the honey malt edges through divinely. Chocolate nuts and honeyed oak balance the youthful spirit wonderfully, becoming bitter/sweet into the finish whilst showing the most charming journey arc. With water its a richer body but simpler so both with and without are recommended for comparison. Give the bottle a few weeks and you’ll be rewarded with a savoury/sweet, pancake sugared almond delivery that may have you making ‘dad noises’ until your next sip.
F: Citrus, cumin, vanilla, beeswax and waxy oak show to the lip smacking end. Theres aniseed with water added and lots more chocolate. Either way, the palate switches from detecting young spirit, then fresh oak, and back again - such is the balance between the two main components of whisky itself. Its rather speyside like at times. Toasted almonds and roasted parsnips appear before the waxy, vanilla bourbon notes and grain conclude. Fabulous - keeps you guessing to the last.
C: Its nowhere near as fruity as the 2009 or 2010 releases, this is much more about the nuttier, chocolate oak balancing perfectly with the fluffy grain spirit. This really is a superb release from Balblair, their first of its kind in the newly styled, vintage bottlings way back in 1997. Its such a cracker with nothing else quite like it on the market. Its a dram that can easily be bypassed and dismissed as mediocre but with closer scrutiny this really can’t be faulted.
Scores an A