My soft spot for young natural Balblairs is well-documented already, but I’ve been fortunate enough to try some of their older malts as well. Here we have the third release of the 1991 vintage, bottled at around 26-27 years of age. The bulk of its maturation was done in ex-bourbon casks, with the final 2-3 years in European oak sherry.
Nose: Polished old wood, ripe peaches and apricots, and the signature Balblair citrus orchard notes. Water makes it almost tropical, with banana and mango making their appearance.
Palate: It’s quite restrained at first, but with a bit of water there’s an explosion of ripe fresh fruit – peaches, apricots, red apples, citrus fruit. These are all balanced by a very mild spiciness and a cornucopia of honey and pastry-like notes.
Finish: Medium, on pastries and slightly bitter oak spice.
Comments: This is a perfect example of how good older whisky can be. There’s absolutely no trace of over-oaked juice – just a restrained elegance and a sense that the Balblair fruity notes have ripened over time.