Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 22 – Balblair 1990
The Balblair 1990 is the 2nd whisky we’ve seen from this distillery in this year’s calendar. You have to go all the way back to KWM Whisky Advent Day 1 to find the first, Balblair 2003. Truth be told, the 2003 was a backup, one of 3 whiskies held in reserve in the event something went wrong with one of the 25 others. Two of the whiskies which were supposed to be included arrived 2 months late, a mix-up with the shipping firm. The third was never shipped, despite the best efforts of a third party, even though we were assured right up until the 11th hour that it was coming… The biggest challenges with this project are timing and logistics, and that’s why we made sure to have a couple in reserve!
I hope you’ll agree it has all worked out for the best and I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey we’ve been on together these last 22 days. It hasn’t always been easy for me to carve out an hour or two to reflect on each day’s whisky, but it has been a pleasure. Each day I’ve had the chance to revisit a whisky I haven’t sampled for a while. It has forced me to consider it again and reflect on what makes it interesting and unique. Balblair for example is one of the oldest distilleries still producing in Scotland, and yet it is very likely that many of you were not familiar with it prior to sampling one of the whiskies in the calendar. I think that’s what I’ve found most enjoyable about sitting down and writing about each day’s whisky. It is the sharing of the whisky gospel and my passion for good malt that I find most rewarding. I know we still have 3 more days to go, but rest assured the wheel is spinning thinking about next year!
I’ve only been to Balblair Distillery twice over the years. That may seem like a lot but I’ve been to the whisky motherland about as many times as I have fingers and toes. Even for me the distillery is often an afterthought, a twinge of guilt while driving past on my way to the Orkneys, Glenmorangie or the one of the other distilleries on the Sutherland and Caithness coast. Balblair is a very picturesque distillery, along the stunning Dornoch Firth, and its whiskies are wonderful. It is a reminder that we need to stray from the beaten path and enjoy the journey. There are over 50 distilleries in Scotland with visitors centers, the most well known and traveled don’t always offer the best tours!
Balblair 1990 2nd Release (2014) – 46% – 24 Year – 21 Years American & 3 Years in European Oak – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: a damp bag of jujubes, Oh Henry chocolate bar, orange marzipan and rose hips; leathers, spices and sugars with some toasted oak; Palate: big, fruity and spicy, very leathery with earthy toasted oak; very nutty with bold sherry tones atop some creamy vanilla; the chocolate and orange marzipan are still there but not the Oh Henry nougat; lots of dark spice, fennel and clove; Finish: light and long with quickly fading spices, moderately resilient fruits and long lasting leather; Comments: if I must be honest, I like but do not love this malt; I find it a little sharp and not as well balanced as hoped, and the finish is so-so! Great price for its age, but try before you buy, personal preference is always key! – $174.99