Today I’m reviewing a Balblair 1988, a single cask release bottled in 2009. It’s a sample that I have had in my possession for a long time, but that I had somehow forgotten. I am now trying to catch up a bit with all the samples that I have here, but there are quite a few. So I thought I’d start with a number of samples that have been in the closet for quite some time (Last in first out!). All of these will be reviewed here.

I have a soft spot for this lovely distillery. Their tours are quite enjoyable and so is their whisky. I have been there a few times now and I can’t remember that I ever left without buying a distillery exclusive.

However, a few things have changed at Balblair last year. The bottles have been given a new look and the same goes for the labels. But the biggest change that has been made is that the vintages have disappeared. To the surprise of many, because this distinguished the Balblair single malts from the many other bottles out there. Nowadays the core range consists of a series of single malts with an age statement. Something I don’t fully understand and I think many with me, but that’s the case and I think we will just have to get used to it. So far I haven’t had the chance to taste anything from the new core range, but I have a number of samples of this series at home so expect a review soon.

Anyway, here I have such a beautiful old-fashioned bottle with a vintage on it. Let’s see what this brings first.

This Balblair has matured in a bourbon cask for 21 years and is bottled at 58.2% ABV.

Balblair 1988 tasting notes:

Nose: Fruity at first, with a mix of stewed and fresh apples. Pears too. Then Vanilla and marzipan. There is a faint hint of lemon. A pinch of salt. With water the nose gets fruitier. But this goes more towards pineapple and oranges.

Taste: Apples, vanilla. A fresh note from lemon and touch of salt. This is followed by menthol. Water adds grapefruit, but I like it better without water.

Finish: It’s rather short, but still good. Lemon, apples and some menthol elements. With water grapefruit and a somewhat of a bitter edge.

It’s a good Balblair, although not very spectaculair. Watering it down helps with the nose but not with the taste, the high ABV seems to work better here.

Photo credit: Whiskybase