Balblair

The original Balblair was built in 1870, but the site was moved entirely in 1872 to take advantage of the just built Inverness to Wick train line. The distillery, like many, suffered economically during the Great Wars and was closed until after WWII. Following several changes of ownership, Balblair was bought by Inverhouse (owners of Old Pulteney) in 1996. Few bottlings came for the distillery until 2007 when a total repackaging and relaunch saw Balblair bottle by vintage rather than by age, with a unique and eye-catching design. The quality of the whisky being just as good as the design is testament to the 21st rebirth of this old distillery.

Distillery Bottlings

Posted 11 September 2017

Balblair Vintage 2004 sherry matured was released for travel retail in 2014. Balblair bottle by vintage year, and not age, but you’re always free to take the distillation and bottling dates and calculate it for yourself. This Balblair was released as part of a pair, one sherry matured and one bourbon matured both in large litre bottles. The sherry matured vintage has been aged entirely in American and Spanish ex-sherry butts and is bottled at 46%.


Posted 22 February 2018

Today’s review is of a single cask Balblair that was bottled as an exclusive for the UK’s Whisky Exchange. It’s a whisky that I ended up trying several times over the course of last year – a hazard of hanging around with Exchange’s Billy Abbot too much I dare say – and one that I’ve been meaning to write proper tasting notes on for a while. Whilst it still comes in the snazzy Balblair glassware, this whisky doesn’t come with a colour that you’d expect to see within the distillery’s Vintage-based core range. It’s dark auburn, packed full of the colours of deep autumn. It’s screaming first-fill sherry cask.


Posted 02 November 2017

I’m always a little surprised that Balblair has not garnered more interest and popularity as a high quality single malt whisky. Founded in 1790 making it one of Scotland’s oldest, the distillery has been under the wings of Inver House since 1996. In 2007 a radical reimagining and redesign of Balblair moved to bottling by vintage year (rather than always having an X and Y year old permanently available) and snazzy new glassware was introduced across the range.


Posted 25 April 2017

For those new to Balblair, you'll need to take a closer look at the bottle label (a good practice anyhow) to see the age of their malts. Balblair bottle by 'vintage', preferring, in their own words, to "select whiskies that have reached their exact point of optimum maturation". This can make things a little confusing, with very different whiskies bearing the same vintage year across the bottle. 


Posted 29 October 2018

Those new to official Balblair expressions will need to take a closer look at the labels (a good practice anyhow) to learn exactly what’s going on inside the bottles. Balblair bottle by 'vintage', preferring, in their own words, to "select whiskies that have reached their exact point of optimum maturation". In essence this means that the distillery operates a ‘floating’ core range – there’s an array of similar expressions (a young ex-bourbon, a mid-aged marriage of casks, and an older more heavily sherried number etc), but they’re not precisely the same all the time. Variety is the spice of life. But, this can make things a little confusing, with very different whiskies bearing the same vintage year on the label – but look a little closer and all will make sense.


Independent Bottlings

Cadenhead's


Posted 11 August 2017

Balblair predominantly ages their whisky in ex-bourbon American oak casks – their unpeated Highland spirit is well suited to extended aging which brings out the natural fruitiness and prominent spicing from their spirit. Whilst the distillery fills several different types of casks, I’ve often found those whose principal maturation has come from ex-bourbon to be the most successful, and the truest to the character of the distillery itself.


SMWS


Posted 02 August 2018

An interesting cask selection for this Balblair -  9 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead with a 1 year finish in a 2nd fill coarse grain toasted French oak barrique. Spicy & Dry profile.


Posted 08 November 2018

Coastal Balblair – oh go on then. An 11 year old matured in a 2nd fill hogshead. Oily & coastal profile.


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