I reviewed the Balblair 1997-2009 some weeks ago and here now is the second edition of the 1989-2010 release. This got a fair bit of love when it was released; I liked it fine but it didn’t really rock my world. It’s got the northern Highland apples/pears/malt thing going on but turns out rather anonymous–which is not something that you want from an official release that’s at least 20 years old.
Balblair 1989-2010, 2nd. Ed. (43%; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: Gooseberries, apples, some honey, some vanilla and a fair bit of malt. The sweet-sour malty note comes to the fore and there’s more salt too after a bit, and maybe some sliced over-ripe pears. Not a whole lot else happening. A touch of water brings out a faint hint of milk chocolate.
Palate: Very close to the nose but there’s some peppery bite here to go along with the fruit and malt and the malt is not quite as pronounced as on the nose. Rather thin mouthfeel. With water there’s wateriness, a little more salt and just the faintest hint of some tropical fruit.
Finish: Short. Not a whole lot of there there at first; later some of that milk chocolate and vanilla. The woody/peppery note is the only thing that really lingers.
Comments: Best on the nose. It is possible that this sample has dulled a little (especially on the palate) with time. But the brief notes I recorded when the bottle was on the go don’t paint a very different picture. This is very drinkable whisky and quite pleasant but considering the premium you’re paying for age you’re better off with one of the younger official vintages. Especially as the age doesn’t seem to bringing much to the party other than vague spicy/woody notes. Think I’ll add what’s left to one of my home vattings.
Rating: 83 points. Probably would have been a little higher when the bottle was freshly opened.