Balblair 1975

Balblair 1975 (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 32 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Light grain.

Viscosity: Very slow to form streaks, slow moving and thin.

Nose: Heather, potpourri and oak. Lime sorbet. Vanilla fudge. Light walnut cake. Water adds dry liquorice. Rum raisins.

Body: Vanilla toffee and lime. Some alcohol presence. Walnuts. Light chocolate. Cherries in sherry. Water makes liquore like and hides alcohol. Rum and raisin ice cream.

Finish: Walnut. Tangy lime. Dry. Coffee cake. Jelly. Raisins. Light spice. Water adds toffee liquore and cream. Rum and raisins.

Conclusion: There is a thing about the more elderly whisky in that it always seems to take a while to find the full charm of them. The first few sips tend to be smooth but don’t hint at the full range of flavour.

So it is true here, initially there is toffee and light walnut cake with a Yorkshire field aroma and sweet lime notes. Now that is not unimpressive but there is so much more there, and you have to give it time to coax it out of its shell.

It is a slow progression, and one that is aided by just a few drops of water. You get rum and raisins which is probably the defining element, subtle at first but it grows to mouth filling richness and is backed by delicate spice. It is soothing, sweet , warming and fulfilling.

The weakest element is probably the aroma, it never really catches the range of what is beneath it. Instead you find it oscillating between light floral notes and a liquorice touch. Despite that one flaw it is an incredible whisky, with great progression from light sweetness early on into complex dark fruit and spice that really catches the attention.

The flavour matches the texture well, smooth, well smooth after an early alcohol presence. It gives an ice cream like element to the rum and raisin, creamy and with water it’s a classy and smooth delivery system for the flavours.

Very much worth having if you can.

Background: You don’t often see whisky this old in miniatures. But since I did I grabbed it. I’ve tried a few Balblair’s now, found them light and fruity, but never got around to doing notes on one. Balblair eschew the usual route of doing x years labeled bottles, and instead do year based vintages. It’s an interesting approach and nigh guarantees that there will be a new expression on the shelves regularly so probably does well for keeping them in peoples attention. I do like the little stubby bottle style, especially scaled down to miniature size. You may have noticed this is my first note for a while, I actually finally cleared my backlog. First time since Japan despite coming close several times. Now I need a pint.