After three Ardmores in a row (here, here, and here), let’s go a little west and then north to Balblair (see here for my write-up of my brief visit to the distillery this summer). This isn’t any more of a timely review than the previous three, however. This 16 yo was phased out in the late 2000s when Balblair’s vintage releases started coming out. While I’ve liked the few of those vintages I’ve tried, I didn’t like them enough to keep trying each new release. And there’s not a whole lot of Balblair available from the independents, especially of late. As such, I’m more than a little out of touch with what the distillery has been doing in the last few years. I did always like the old 16 yo a lot though. I finished my last bottle some years ago but saved a reference sample from it. I’m looking forward to tasting it once more. By the way, as with some other malts that were/are bottled at 40% in the UK and Europe, the US version of the Balblair 16 was at 43%.
Balblair 16 (43%; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: A lot of apple (cooked and fresh) and a bit of lemon; something leafy as well. After a few minutes there’s some sweeter fruit as well (berries of some kind, overripe pear) and also a coppery note. Rather nice. A little brighter and a little herbal maybe with a couple of drops of water but no major change.
Palate: All the stuff from the nose plus some roasted malt and milky coffee and just a hint of earthy peat. The texture is a bit thin but it works well with this profile. With time the metallic note expands along with the roasted malt (and it gets leafier here too). Water doesn’t wreck it but it washes it out a bit.
Finish: Medium. Some oak and spice here and that leafy note lingers for a while. At the very end there’s some cold black tea. The herbal note that popped up on the nose with water shows up in the finish as well.
Comments: Rather good. I wish I still had another bottle. To think I purchased this for just over $40 back in the day…
Rating: 85 points.