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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

February 20, 2020


Time Warp

The Time Warp Sessions,
today Balblair

Always loved the fruitiest Highlander of them all. We’ll have a new indie 10 years old, and then see if we can find an older baby…

Balblair 10 yo 2009/2019 (59.4%, The Whisky Barrel Originals, 1st fill oloroso hogshead, cask #TWB1008, 284 bottles)

Balblair 10 yo 2009/2019 (59.4%, The Whisky Barrel Originals, 1st fill oloroso hogshead, cask #TWB1008, 284 bottles) Four stars
Let’s see if the sherry’s heavy here, and if it would block the spirit’s trademark fresh fruitiness… Colour: light gold. A miracle that it’s not really dark. Nose: it’s not dark but it is extremely vinous, not in a bad way at all. So no whiffs of plonk, rather some bone dry walnut wine as well as whiffs of exhaust fumes and struck matches. Fresh coffee roasting. With water: earthier, more vegetal, with even notes of mud and damp garden peat… Mouth (neat): really punchy and very dry, on more or less the same flavours as on the nose. Walnuts, soot, ashes, very bitter teas, Fernet-Branca, Noilly Prat, even a feeling of salt... Isn’t this some kind of oak-aged dry martini in disguise? With water: add thyme and rosemary, cloves, allspice, caraway, and a little leather. Still rather extreme. Finish: long, very bitter. Eating tobacco, I would say. Comments: rather spectacular, I do enjoy this ultra-dry and bitter style, but I’m not sure you should try to pour this to, say dedicated Jack Daniels lovers. Anybody finding the distillery here deserves Donald J. trump’s History of the Origins of Christianity in twenty-seven volumes (hardcover deluxe edition).
SGP:272 - 86 points.

So find an old Balblair… Oh perhaps this?...

Balblair 35 yo 1970/2005 (44.2%, OB, bourbon)

Balblair 35 yo 1970/2005 (44.2%, OB, bourbon) Five stars
This was ‘a specialist bottling’, you understand. What’s sure is that the 1966 that they had bottled a few months earlier as a 38 yo had been just superb (WF 92 back in 2004). Why I’ve never tried this little 1970 before, I don’t know. Colour: gold. Nose: well, ite missa est right upfront, no question. Amazing pollen, beeswax, honey, preserved peaches, apricots and mirabelles, then more tertiary elements such as almond milk, putty, old books, sweet little mushrooms (not those), a wee slice of tarte tatin, an even smaller spoonful of crème brulée, some orgeat, just a wee bit of pine resin (after all, it’s 35)… Well, there was another 1970 that used to showcase a similarly perfect nose near those times, that was the Bruichladdich, remember? Mouth: bites you just a wee bit (oak) at first, but gets then chewy and superbly citrusy, rather on grapefruit and bitter oranges. Some nutmeg and some pepper too, plus all the fruits albeit toned down a wee bit. The oak seems to be willing to take over, but the distillate is still resisting, even if there would be a wee feeling of ‘Fort Alamo’s last hours’. Finish: medium, drier. Teas and oak spices, with fewer fruits. Echoes of honey in the aftertaste. Comments: absolutely lovely, if a little fragile on the palate. I’m not sure they could have made a 36 yo out of these very bourbon casks. Right on time!
SGP:561 - 90 points.

(Merci François!)

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