N: I finally made it to a SMWS outturn tasting. It's a loud occasion, both floors of the London venue packed out, peoples patter to a near roar at times, an interesting smell - mainly of a beer brewery and a cheese shop, and it's warm, very warm even after a Bikram yoga session its warm. So all in all, interesting if not ideal conditions for smelling and tasting the fine liquid gold. I'm just going to enjoy it all. Let's start with my favourite distillery. I've found recent releases of Balblair from SMWS not that indicative of the distillery profile as seen in the official bottlings, and this seems no different. A natural one for sure, young yes we know this. Young sugar barley water in the main, with a polished lamination. The peaches, apples and pear drops are yet to bloom but the buds are appearing. Let's sip.
T: It's most 'Balblair like' on the initial arrival, but it's brief and slight. Green and golden barley stretches out like the barley fields of childhood in summer. It's a strong sour-savoury-sweet arrival, developing even greener. There's a strong, permeating, astringent barley rush, with water or without. A very clean and true spirit with a flat-wicket performance - a good batting pitch without cracks or surprises. Time softens things.
F: Slightly waxy, again the quality of the spirit is in no doubt. Becomes rather savoury-sour.
C: Good quality spirit and seemingly cooperative cask - but there's not much of a dialog going on here. Rather basic but a fine initial delivery.
Scores a C-