Balblair 1999 Sherry Cask The Whisky Exchange Single Cask

Balblair 1999 TWE Single Cask 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/Saba007 for sharing this one with us.

So I show up to this tasting. Don’t know what will be served. Why? Because I’ve been sick for weeks and not able to concentrate on anything other than school. How have I kept posting? I’m well organized. And I review a lot normally. Heck, by the time these words are read, I could be sick again.

The main thing to think about is we started this tasting with Balblair 1999 Sherry Cask The Whisky Exchange Single Cask. And I took some extra time, as this is my second whisky in 2 weeks.

Balblair is somewhat new to me. I’ve had very few. They don’t pop up often around me (that said, three are currently available at the LCBO). They typically use Oloroso casks, of which I’m not the biggest fan (over PX, which I am). However recently I’ve been lucky enough to try some more.

This differs from other OBs from Balblair. Normally they are released as part of a vintage, when they are ready, as a release. In this case it is a single cask. Made for the Whisky Exchange. Also I don’t think there will be different versions of this one either, unless they buy a 1999 cask again.

So, we have a distillery I’m just getting into, as a Single Cask right from them, from a company that picks whisky and sells it, and is positioned as the high end distillery in their marketing mix. If that doesn’t interest you, you may be legally dead. Check your pulse.

Let’s see how it tastes then?

Balblair 1999 TWE Single Cask 1.jpg

Price: £125 at The Whisky Exchange

Region: Highland

Vintage: 1999

Bottling Date: 2016

Cask Type: First-fill Sherry

Cask Number: 1712

Abv: 51.9%

Colour: 10YR 5/8

Nose: Papaya, plum pudding, cloves, raisin, cashew

Very fruity. The good side of Oloroso, not with lighter notes, but richer notes, which I assume is because it’s first-fill, not a finish, etcetera.

A little water brings out some cashew. Oh, and the plum pudding is so strong at first that you imagine yourself in a British bakery just as it’s coming out of the oven.

Taste: Raisin, plum, ginger, pear cider, papaya, light maple syrup

Rich flavour on this one. Lots of “dark sweets”, as it were. Lovely spice, good apple/tropical/stone fruit notes. Differs with water, with more buttery notes showing up.

This is an Autumn dram, right up there with football and dead leaves.

Finish: Sulphur, anise, Cuban tobacco, orange, grape musk

Initial finish is a ton of sulphur. Which I like, because something is wrong with me.

I know quite a few people have both nicely and not so nicely informed me how incorrect I was about tobacco, that tobacco itself is quite complex. So in this case, the closest I can get is an earthy, slightly cinnamon/sweet tobacco vegetal note that can’t be separated out. I hope that’s more descriptive. I’m getting better.

Conclusion: An interesting Balblair. More on the “port type” of whisky I’d say, with more plum sweets than normal. Reminds me of one of the Balblair 1990 out there with the different spice notes. Definitely has that Autumn dram feeling to it.

Nose is both insane and probably the simplest part of the whisky. It has tons of plum pudding and nothing else. And that’s not a super basic taste. Overall hits the notes I want (the cinnamon raisin bread notes mixed with stone fruit).

84/100

Scotch review #760, Highland review #122, Whisky Network review #1255

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