With a name like this we can only be expecting a spicy little number. 9 year old Balblair drawn from the refill ex-bourbon barrel.
Nose: Highly floral with freshly hung laundry and potpourri supported by a mineral vein – granite and lump coal. Meringue and digestive biscuits sit with melon and gooseberries whilst vanilla ice cream and choux buns are joined by a touch of tanned leather. Water unlocks much more fruitiness – banana and mango – and much more spiciness - red chillies, bell peppers – whilst also adding lemon balm and hewn rock faces.
Taste: Where the nose was fresh, the palate is full and viscid – and it comes with a fair alcoholic bite. An assortment of peppers, tomato vines and gooseberries provide a real greenhouse feel whilst milk chocolate and vanilla cream lifts the sweetness levels. Dilution feels rather the necessity here – it delivers vanilla pods, limestone cliffs and orchard fruits (apples and pears).
Finish: Medium with chocolate digestive biscuits and drying oakiness.
A fiery Balblair that for the most part is highly distillate-led, but at the same time really rather spicy. The name rather implied it would be. The balance between the spirit and the spice feels a little uneasy at times, but underpinning the experience is a strong minerality which manages to anchors both with a strong sense of coastalness. Probably rather divisive, but you can’t argue this isn’t packed full of flavour and character.