N: This is a far beefier dram compared to the more subtle lemon-floral 1991/2018 3rd release [Blog / WB], and the very different 16yo ‘old style’ label [WB]. That’ll be down to the significantly heavier sherry presence, the distillery-specific floral < tropical fruits still very evident however. It was interesting to compare this with SMWS’s 70.21 [Blog / WB], and Elixir’s 19yo [blog], a distillery character from the underlying spirit emerging between all three.
T: More dark & desirably bitter > sweet sherry action, one pleasingly amalgamated and somewhat old skool in character for sure. After a full arrival and a patient pause, things start to get interesting on the turn [with water], towards a varied & colourful finish.
F: The spirit remains firm whilst the finish offers all-sorts, from a fresh/spicy waxiness to a slightly butyric note, desirable sulphury tones, a dry woodiness, earthy dunnage,… a collection in fact of possible outcomes like those 'choose your own ending’ adventure books.
C: Maybe the 1991 has more finesse, though it’s only just been opened so too early to say. Perhaps by comparison then, this is a more rugged Balblair, though one that maintains all that’s great about this fabulous Highland distillery, and so a whisky you can enjoy on many levels.
Scores a B[+]