Blair Athol 22, 1995 (First Editions)


I haven’t reviewed very many Blair Athols—it’s been almost a year since my last review in fact. That one was a single sherry cask, distilled in 1988 and bottled in 2014 or 2015 by Signatory. This one is not quite as old but is also from a single sherry cask. This is from the 1995 vintage and was bottled last year by First Editions, another of Hunter Laing’s lines. The arithmetic on this one is a little wonky though. The label says it’s a single sherry butt but also says only 234 bottles came from it. That seems about 50% too low for a sherry butt. Compounding the mystery is the fact that there was a Blair Athol 21, 1995 bottled in the same series in 2017 from a sherry butt with the exact same abv but that one apparently yielded 492 bottles and 492+234 is headed into Glendronach territory for a single sherry butt after 22 years. Now there’s also a First Editions release of Blair Athol 22, 1995 from 2017 with a slightly lower abv that’s listed as having yielded only 210 bottles. 210+234 is not an implausible number for a single sherry butt either. It’s also possible, of course, that the cask was split with a completely different bottler or that despite being listed on the label as a sherry butt it was actually a sherry hogshead. Either way, it’s obviously the case that independent bottlers can’t always be relied upon for very much more accuracy/transparency on labels than the distilleries themselves. If anyone has any light to shed on this please write in below. Continue reading

Bladnoch 21, 1990 (Edition Spirits)

Bladnoch 21, 1990, Edition SpiritsThis Bladnoch 21 was distilled prior to the distillery’s takeover and revival under Raymond Armstrong. As most whisky geeks know, that era too has ended, with the distillery now in receivership. It’s unknown what its fate will be. Hopefully, it will be purchased by someone who will keep it going and who will also continue Raymond’s approach of making simple, good whisky and marketing it at a competitive price without any frippery. This seems unlikely but let’s hope for the best. For now at least some of the Armstrong era releases can still be found at reasonable prices as can older indies such as this one.

Edition Spirits and their “First Editions” series, which this bottle is in, are now in the US as well (this is not a US release though). I don’t have very much experience of them. If you’ve tried any of their US releases and have recommendations one way or the other please chime in below. Continue reading

Quick Hits: Two Linkwoods from the 80s

Linkwood
Another entry in the “Quick Hits” series: this time two Linkwoods from the 1980s. (Previously featured: two 1980s Inchgowers, and two 1960s Tomintouls). Once again, too little of each to form very confident appraisals and so there are no ratings and I would encourage you not to in any way consider these notes (or the previous entries in the series) as guides for making purchasing decisions.

I don’t know a whole lot about Linkwood. I’ve had a few bourbon cask teenagers and that’s about it. It’s a Speyside distillery that makes a lightly fruity malt that mostly goes into Diageo’s blends. Every one that I have tried (only 2-3) has been solid but none have knocked my socks off. Will these samples demonstrate sock knocking-off potential?  Continue reading