Balblair Distillery – True Highland Spirit

Balblair distillery made it into the news recently for their change in packaging and labelling of their whiskies. Instead of vintages, the distillery decided to follow the conventional method of stating the age of the whisky on the bottle. It is a welcoming change for drinkers who are too lazy to count the years (like us)!

We wanted to see how things may change with the new packaging, and Lady Luck shines on us – SAMPLES! Our friend over at AsiaEuro kindly gave us some samples to try, and of course, we gladly took over. Who says no to whisky, right? Before we go into the tasting, let’s take a look at the history of the distillery.

History of Balblair Distillery

Balblair was founded in 1790 by John Ross in the Highlands of Scotland. As a Highland distillery, Balblair uses water from the Ault Dearg burn. Even though the distillery moved its location in 1895 when Charles C Doig rebuilt it, the water source remains unchanged to this day. It is important to note that water source for a distillery is crucial, and we applaud the efforts that Balblair takes to maintain the integrity of its water.

John ran Balblair from 1790 to 1824 singlehandedly as a striving business. Andrew Ross, his son, joined him at the distillery in 1824 and it remained in the Ross family for another 70 years. In 1894, Alexander Cowan took over the tenancy of Balblair distillery. The business remained as a small-scale distillery until 1948, when Robert Cumming bought it. Robert expanded the distillery and increased production and ran the bigger distillery until he retired in 1970.

By this time, Balblair is known as an excellent Highland single malt whisky producer, and it is no wonder that the distillery attracted buyers. When Robert Cumming retired, he sold Balblair to Hiram Walker. Finally, Walker sold it to Inver House Distillers Limited in 1996, where it remained till this day.

Whisky Production at Balblair

We do not get a lot of information on the actual whisky production methods at Balblair as the information is not available. Let’s move on to the tasting notes!

Whisky Reviews

Credits: balblair.com

Balblair 12 Years Old

Nose: confectionary sweetness, lemon zest, sour mash
Palate: lemon zest, vanilla sponge cake, resin,
Finish: heather, resin, lemon zest, vanilla
*We did not add water to the 12 Years Old.

Balblair 15 Years Old

Nose: cookie dough, brioche, chocolate, cinnamon, black pepper and honey. With water, we get a hint of ginger too.
Palate: chocolate cinnamon honey and yellow pears. With water, there are more honey, cinnamon and black pepper.
Finish: vanilla citrus, cinnamon and milk chocolate. With water, we get dark chocolate, walnuts and marzipan.

Balblair 18 Years Old

Nose: hints of new magazines, cinnamon, milk chocolate, rich honey, vanilla sponge,
Palate: cinnamon, chocolate, brioche, walnuts, cashews, lemon zest, grapefruit zest
Finish: cinnamon, black pepper, lemon zest
Again, we did not add water to the 18 Years Old.

Our team was quite divided on our favourites after the tasting. Suffice to say, we enjoyed all three expressions, but the 15 Years Old did win the vote with a 2 out of 3. Have you tried these yet? What are your thoughts?

 

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