Whisky is a creation loved the world over. Drank by famous figures of the past such as Sir Winston Churchill to Katharine Hepburn, toasted to celebrate a marriage or quaffed at the weekend to down ones sorrows, it truly is a legendary drink. Whats fascinating still is the length of time it has been around, 1790 in the case of Balblair, the oldest working whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. With this in mind then it was only right that I delve a little deeper, not that I took a great deal of convincing, into one of their most special creations of late, the 3rd release of their 1991 vintage Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
To back up a little on the history, the Balblair distillery, situated in Tain, was actually established as far back as 1749 however the first official recordings to come out the distillery were in 1790, a majestic, picturesque place where it still sits today and it is said the air around the distillery itself is the purest in Scotland. Back in February of this year at The Gentleman Select I actually took part in the very cool #BALBLAIRLIVE masterclass session on Facebook where some lucky folks were able to tune in to a live tasting session which featured three flavour wheels and three sample malts, the 1st release of their vintage 2005, a 2nd release of the vintage 2000 creation and the one I wanted to focus on more, the vintage 1991 3rd release.
As whisky goes, this is absolutely astounding. From the box itself containing an atmospheric mountain scene, you open it to find this warming, amber and rose gold creation staring back at you. The Balblair 1991 goes through a maturing process in ex-bourbon casks and Spanish oak ex-sherry butts resulting in a quite exceptional drink. Naturally I was keen to try a little more of this having sampled only a little in the masterclass session and to be honest, who wouldn’t? On opening the bottle you get this delicious aroma of citrus fruits with notes of vanilla, toffee and chocolate. Thanks to the maturation process using the ex-bourbon casks and Spanish oak ex-sherry butts you also get these sweet hints of honey, warming winter spices and a dash of liquorice coming through in the background.
The next thing to do is of course reach for a good whisky glass and pour in the golden nectar. On raising the glass and taking a sip you get that delicious citrus flavour, a signature style of Balblair, complimented with rich creamy chocolate and light vanilla notes. There is also tastes of sweet apples and pears rushing through for what literally is an experience within your mouth. On swallowing, the finish brings to you hints of sparkling orange and little toasted coconut overtones which accentuate a sweet caramel and vanilla finish. Pure perfection.
From trying a variety of whiskies I can hands down say this is a cracker from Balblair. It is a total sensory experience for your mouth, flavoursome and super smooth to drink. If you are a whisky collector I believe it is one well worth having or if you have a special occasion on the horizon it is well worth getting in for. Both you and your guests will not be disappointed.
Head over to the Balblair website here where you can view the full collection and also book a little tour of this lovely distillery if you are in the area.