KWM Whisky Advent Day 1 – Balblair 2003

Welcome to Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent 2015!

25 days of Dram Fine Whisky…

Today is the first day of Kensington Wine Market’s Whisky Advent 2015. Each day, for the next 25, days we will be talking about and tasting a new whisky. Every morning KWM will be putting details up on our blog for each whisky and the distillery it comes from. It’s our hope that you’ll share your feedback with us on the whiskies and the Whisky Advent Calendar through our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can comment on our posts, link to us and or use the hashtag: #KWMWhiskyAdvent.

Those of you lucky enough to have a calendar will be opening day one to find the custom logo Glencairn glass, a wee scroll, a discount card and the first whisky, the Balblair 2003. Eager as you may be, I would suggest giving the glass a rinse before digging in. Hang on to the discount card, you can bring it into the store for a discount on any of the whiskies in the 2015 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar. But enough about that and on to the first whisky.

Our first 2015 KWM Whisky Advent whisky hails from the Balblair Distillery in Northern Scotland. Balblair is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, one of no more than a handful that can trace their origin to the 1700s. Although the distillery’s founding date is listed as 1790, there is some evidence that whisky was being produced here as early as 1749. At that time beer was being produced on the site.

The distillery is situated just a 10 minute drive west of Glenmorangie, further up the scenic Dornoch Firth. In 1862 a new railway is built between Inverness and Ardgay, giving the distillery better access to coal and other raw materials. In 1895 the distillery is moved half a mile to the north to make better use of the railway. It would be a short lived venture, the distillery closed in 1911 with the last drop of whisky leaving the warehouses in 1932.

The outbreak of World War II saw the Balblair Distillery grounds taken over as part of the war effort. The distillery would not be returned to more peaceful civilian use until 1948 when a new owner took over with an eye to restarting the distillery. In 1949 production resumed, and has continued to this day. Balblair distillery is part of Inver House Distillers along with Knockdhu (anCnoc), Old Pulteney, Speyburn and Balmenach, which is in turn owned by Thai Beverage.

Prior to 2000 almost all of Balblair’s production went into blends, but that started to change in 2000 when Inver House took over ownership. In 2007 the brand was relaunched with a vintage concept similar to Glenrothes, rather than fixed age statement whiskies. The current core range consists of: 1983, 1990, 1999 and 2003. There is also a very limited 1969 vintage available at the moment. This 2003 vintage has been bottled, as all Balblair expressions are, at 46% without colouring or chill-filtering.

Balblair 2003 – 46% – Ex-Bourbon Oak – Approximately 10 Years Old – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: soft, creamy and fruity with delicate floral tones, malt and fresh peaches; a hint of green grasses alludes to its youth, some silky white chocolate and lemon peel soften things out; Palate: honeyed and toasty, loads of vanilla and chewy malt with more peachy fruits and zesty lemon peel; the whisky is very balanced and pleasant with hints of almond, more white chocolate and subtle floral tones; Finish: bright, creamy and fresh with fading vanilla and soft fruity notes; Comment: a very pleasant easy drinking malt, and great value! - $88

Order it here!

Stay tuned for Day 2 of KWM Whisky Advent Tomorrow

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