N: An independant bottling which smells like a distillery bottling, albeit not as potent on the nose. The nose here is opaque, hard to penetrate, as theres a murky subtleness here. The common Balblair traits are there but i can identify them only because I'm expecting them due to familiarity. More yeasty than Ob's, reminding me of the Lowlands [Bladnoch] rather than the Highlands.
T: Theres a harshness initially, and it builds and engulfs the tongue, yikes - runs to the tap!. Adding water is a must to calm it down. Now its a rich honey malt with a creamier lemon development and some dark chocolate woody peppery notes. Later the bourbon cask comes to the fore, producing caramels on arrival, and without water the dark caramel sweetness has a large impact on the finish too.
F: Rich honey malt remains strong to the end with lemon rind notes a touch of salt and a chilli zing. Sweet aniseed, some chalk and gentle lemon and lingering chilli [post curry] conclude this bottling. Without water, the spices will overwhelm the palate and the sides of your mouth but you'll get a vibrant lemon rind dark chocolate mouthful till the death.
C: The nose is a misnomer to the hyperactivity to come. Water is compulsory but worth going back to neat from time to time. This is an exhausting malt, demanding your attention at all times, I think ill get a bottle just for the challenge, its a formidable bottling. This Cadenhead bottling is a showcase for what can be done with Balblair spirit away from the gentle more floral distillery bottlings. A welcome Balblair powerhouse.
Scores a B+