About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Last month saw me making my way past Balblair Distillery on a quiet Monday morning. Arriving at the distillery before 10am, we parked the car and walked the grounds a bit, said 'good morning' to the warehouse man and snapped a few pictures before heading for the shop where my travelling companion did a BYO (Bottle your own), a 2002 from ex-bourbon cask#680 at 58%.

Last time we were at Balblair was little over 2 years ago in August 2012 ans since then there has been more than a handful of casks available there. Back then it was a 1992 19yo at 52,80% on as BYO and at the same price as the 2002 12yo of today - £90... but as with the rest of the whisky market, this has also seen quite a price hike and this seems to be around the price you have to pay for a BYO at most distilleries these days, though some offer you 'more' for your money (read: older whisky) than others.

In the opposite end of the scale, there's still some of the Chivas/Pernod Ricard distilleries (Aberlour, Strathisla, Glenlivet) offering BYOs at a more reasonable £65-70 for 14-18yo whiskies...
There's also a hidden gem somewhere in Speyside at the moment, offering a cracking 8yo sherry cask bottling at cask strength at £45... what a dram - where, you hear you ask? go find out yourself ;-)

Now let's try a Balblair bottled exclusively for The Whisky Exchange in London...
Balblair uses only a vintage (year) on their bottlings, so you can't makeout the age exactly on their bottlings.

Balblair Distillery, October 20th 2014 © The Malt Desk
Balblair 2000 sherry butt#1343 53%, 588 bottles, Distillery bottling for The Whisky Exchange in London

Colour is dark mahogany

Wow, heavy stuff!! BBQ sauce, charcoal, all kinds of dark fruits and especially raisins and prunes, walnut oil, tar, soy sauce, damp earth and a very faint note of struck match

Drying and massive!! a real mouth filler! Danish licorice, dark chocolate, dark rum, coffee, very tiny hint of rubber, pipe tobacco, thick molasses, black olives, tea left to soak for way too long, burnt caramel and a more than drying, nipping oak.

Add some water to this (just a teaspoon) and it calms down somewhat and I'd even swear I get some of the Balblair character underneath with hints of apple, but it's maybe just my mind playing a trick on me here...

I like to dive deep into this style of whisky once in a while, especially when a sherry-MONSTER like this comes along! This is, however, not a whisky for everyone and it lacks some finesse and is what I'd like to call sherry 'broken' but I still like it for its sheer force...


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