The Old Malt Cask Blair Athol 12 year

The Old Malt Cask: Blair Athol: 12 Year (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 50% ABV)

Visual: Grain, fairly light coloured.

Viscosity: A few, quite fast medium thickness streaks.

Nose: Heather. Honey. Lightly waxy. Light herbal tea and mint leaves. Vanilla. Sugared almonds. Water adds wet oak.

Body: Honey and custard slices. Warming and lightly oaken. Cake sponge. Smooth. Sugared almonds. Water makes golden syrup and more nutty. More water adds apricot and more custard slices.

Finish: Malt drinks. Wood shavings. Slightly dry. Light peppery. Light waxy. Vanilla toffee. Honey. Water makes sugared almonds come out and light strawberry. More water orange crème and light menthol notes.

Conclusion: I will not hold Bells again this, I will not hold Bells against this. I will not hold Bells against this. Yep, as mentioned in the background, it is time for me to take on a single malt take on one of the main components of Bells whisky. I am not a fan of Bells whisky. Anyway, this is nicely smooth, especial for a 50% abv whisky. Frankly, I have had far weaker whisky burn far stronger on sipping. Good job. This also has a very familiar, general, whisky character. It is probably due to the fact that it used in one of the most common blends, that it seems very familiar even here in the single malt form. However here it has none of the roughness, just feels very typical of what you would expect when you hear the word “whisky”.

The flavours call to mind a sweeter take on a Strathisla. It has a similar nutty character which I appreciate, but here it is a bit more easy going, and a bit smoother – with notes of honey and vanilla custard building the sweetness up.

It all hangs together very well, a solid flavour set that matches light apricot fruit. Mixed sweetness, light peppiness and good nuttiness. Nothing too unusual but very smoothly done, and the flavours back each other up very well.

On top of that, let’s face it, it only seems slightly generic as Bells is often many people’s first, terrible, experience of whisky. It is well known and so will seem familiar. If this stood in the palce of Bells as a standard dram I would have no complaints at all.

A genuinely solid dram, nothing unusual, but very nicely done. Another good whisky for anyone who wants to try a good whisky that shows what the base characteristics of whisky should be.

Background: Normally I try to support the smaller local shops, however this is an exception. One of the branches of “The Whisky Shop” opened in Bath a while back, so I poked my nose in and noticed they had this smaller bottle of Blair Athol. A whisky I have tried a few times, and in fact visited the distillery, but have never done notes of. So I decided to grab a bottle to fill in the gap in my blog’s notes. Anyway, this, as mentioned in the main body, is one of the main single malts used in the Bells blend. This particular one was distilled 2012 and put in the bottle 2014. Aged in a refill hogshead this is non chill filtered. I think that covers it. Drunk while listening to Clonic Earth again, that is one odd mix of white noise, haunting atmosphere and unnerving sound.

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