AN intrepid duo from the club defied the rail strikes to attend the Edinburgh relaunch of Balblair as a premium single malt. As you know, Balblair comes from the company that also produces Old Pulteney, one of the club's supporters this year, although they are very different beasts. Held in The Dome, a former banking hall, the great and the good gathered with Toshie and the Blackster to sniff, sip and swallow a trio of malts released as vintage expressions. The 1979, 1989 and 1997 came from three casks out of 1062 sampled by distillery manager John Macdonald and blends manager Stuart Harvey. A new bottle and packaging inspired by the distillery’s Pictish links will help the malt stand out on the shelves.
The three expressions are:
Balblair 1979 - amber in appearance with radiant golden honey highlights. Warm aromas of honey, toffee and vanilla that come from the long years of maturation in American oak barrels. Cloves, oranges, bananas and pears can also be detected. Sweet, honey vanilla flavours combine with cloves and spices leading to a rich, full-bodied, long-lasting, finish. Retails at £84.99.
Balblair 1989 - mid-amber in appearance with honey-gold highlights. A full-bodied malt with aromas of raisin, green apple and hints of banana and lemon. The American oak barrels lend a warm toffee, vanilla fragrance. On the palate there are raisins and fruits with a rich spiciness leading to a long, complex and ultimately smooth finish. Price £39.95
Balblair 1997 - subtly amber in appearance with rose-golden highlights. Full-bodied and fused with the aromas of pineapple, apricot and lemon to create a long-lasting sweet finish. On the nose, the American oak barrels produce an inviting, spicy fragrance. Hints of oak, spice and raisin combine with the sweetness of vanilla to create a long-lingering, creamy smooth finish on the palate. Yours for £27.99.