Breaking open a bottle of Balblair feels like a little event. The double-door opening of the box revealing the bottle of golden liquid is something special – the ideal dram to warm up with a friend on these chilly winter nights. The newest release joins the distinguished range of other vintages to create a complex collection of complementary notes that would make an interesting tasting session.
They do things a little differently with Balblair, rather than being released in ages each batch is released as a Vintage – and only after the cask is personally sampled and judged by Distillery Manager John MacDonald. As they say themselves
“Each Balblair Vintage captures the essence of its year in a bottle. You’ll notice our bottles are not marked with an age statement, but simply with the year that the whisky was laid down.”
It’s a radically different approach that creates a new appreciation for the master distiller’s skills, and means that you’re assured you’re only getting your Balblair when John has decided it’s ready. Each release in the collection is personally overseen and curated, then John MacDonald selects whiskies that have reached their exact point of ‘optimum maturation’, the peak of perfection, to release.
For the purposes of tasting we kept it simple, one large cube of ice in a tumbler and a generous splash of Balblair. Immediately notes of green apple and spice hits your nose, a pleasant and fresh experience. Following through, it’s clear the ex-bourbon cask American oak has imparted some of the sweet toffee and vanilla flavours, which work well with the spiciness of the finish.
The interesting thing is that the signature Balblair style of citrus orchids works perfectly with the long, spicy finish and leathery, orangey notes. A delicious sipping experience best enjoyed while tucked up against a wild night outside, feeling like you’re winning against the world.
Balblair Vintage 2005 is available nationwide from whisky specialised such as Whisky Exchange and Balblair’s online shop for a price of £43.