Always a bit off the beaten track, Balblair was one of few distilleries sticking to vintage bottlings until just recently. Distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2015, the aroma of this Highlander is a true delight. Blood oranges, papaya and delicate spices intermingle with cereals, lemongrass and hints of cocoa. A complex and well-balanced flavor profile marks the palate: fruity-sweet and spicy at first, the taste develops more floral, aromatic and mildly acidic. Chocolaty-bitter, warming and almost sparkling, the prolonged finish waves farewell. A great Single Malt to savor!
Big fun. Pretty lively and zingy for its age - my guess is that a sizable portion of liquid matured in either ex-European oak or virgin oak has gone into this batch. As fas as affordable older Highlanders go, I'd prefer this to the - roughly similarly priced - AnCnoc 22 and 24.
Plum cake, polish, marzipan, exotically-flavored fruit gums, wine-soaked barrel staves. Quite a bit of acidity - probably due to the ex-bourbon components that went into the vatting, but there's also a sense of slightly sour wood influence (in a good way, though). Very fruity, with quince, mirabelle, apricot, and cherry. The fruit vies for dominance with the wood, without a clear winner in sight. With plenty of air, there's some hickory wood smoke, paprika, and smoky barbecue sauce. Though the sense of sherry seasoning and active wood is strong here, it's still a very rich and varied nose.
Does not need water. Super smooth and silky arrival, gets then slowly and steadily more peppery / spicy and intense. If you'd have to visualize the development on the palate, you'd surely draw an upward tending graph: it starts slowly and then just builds and builds and builds. Basically, you get multivitamin fruit juice in the beginning, then a dash of wood spice, leading up to a ginger-and-chili finale. At the death, there's some late chocolate and espresso. Impressive.
Longer than medium, but not extremely well-defined. Some lingering cocoa and indistinct red fruits, while the zingy spiciness slowly ebbs away. Water makes it fruitier and (duh:) softer without offering any real improvement. A lot of marzipan as well. There's too much active, peppery oak in here for my taste.
Very clean aldehydic sherry, oaky, slight cognac character. Toffee, fudgey creaminess. Barely fruity if at all.
Oak complexity, but barely bitter, with great creaminess. With water and time it gets even more creamy. Slightly sweet wit no fruity components for me. Yes, it seems to me very close to the 2017 version, and probably the whole 1990 line goes mainly on that cognac character, which makes a great transition to them.
Mix of fresh fruit and stewed fruit on the nose as well as honey. Great fullness, perceptible age, soft, melted, sherry, caramel, well integrated alcohol. Great length in the mouth. It's good work. Enthusiasm 4/5
Meanwhile, there are 4 versions of Balblair 1990 "2nd Edition": Bottled 2013: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/77574/balblair-1990 2014: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/75639/balblair-1990 2015: this one 2016: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/86207/balblair-1990 And all are called 2nd Edition ... Strange marketing of Balblair! 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Edition would be more logical? Or???
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