Blair Athol, 2006-2015, Connoisseurs Choice
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail
Cask type: 1st Fill Sherry Butt and Refill Sherry Hogshead
Nose: Creamy on the nose with vanilla and toffee, followed by a filigree fruitiness of peaches and apricots. Hints of honey and a whiff of fine oak in the back.
Palate: Less sweet on the palate as the nose suggests. Vanilla and notes of peach, complemented by a very intensive spiciness of black pepper, oak and crystallised ginger, mixed with a touch of cinnamon. Very warming indeed in which the warmth significantly enhances with the second sip.
Finish: The finish is long, warming but only slightly spicy with acacia honey, sticky fruit, ginger and dry oak on the tail.
With water: By adding some water, there's more fruit coming through with peaches and apricots - the oaky spiciness, however, increases as well. Creamy and lovely sweet on the palates with vanilla, toffee and a nice fruitiness of peaches and apricots. The warming spiciness is significantly tamed. The finish is quite short with creamy honey, peach jam and a whiff of spiced oak on the tail.
Comments: The sherry ageing is not dominating here but really suits this Blair Athol. A very sophisticated malt for its age. A lovely fruitiness, with lingering vanilla and an intense spiciness. Make sure to add a splash of water as this dram becomes nicely round and mellow.
I thank Kirsch Whisky Import for the sample and the photograph!
Blair Athol 5yo, 2010-2016, C&S Dram Collection
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: C&S Dram
Cask type: Sherry Butt (#301878)
Nose: The nose starts off with a massive load of alcohol which, however, isn't pungent. Behind that there's a delicate fruitiness of apples, raisins and caramel. Slightly buttery with hints of almonds and a whiff of oak in the back.
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate. Surprisingly sweet and creamy with delicate citric notes, apples and apricots. This, however, is immediately overpowered by a massive load of spices - pepper, aniseed, and oak. Very warming with a slightly herbal touch towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is medium long, sweet and slightly creamy with apricot jam, mirabelle and honey. Dry and noticeable bitter on the tail with cocoa and spiced oak.
With water: There's more fruitiness coming through on the nose with a splash of water, but tends to be more of a sourish mix of red currant and gooseberry. Water significantly tames the alcoholic bite and warming spiciness on the palate bringing more yellow fruits - apricots, apples, and peaches - to the fore. The finish is medium long with creamy caramel, honey and a sweet touch of fructose.
Comments: This is a young, lively and boisterous Highland single malt. As there's obviously only a minor influence by the sherry cask the distillery character of Blair Athol is very present here. However, there's already a noticeable oakiness which supports the yellow fruitiness and gives a bold grip. Nonetheless, this one's too young for my palate.
I thank Caminneci - Wine & Spirit Partner for sample and photograph!
Blair Athol 26yo, 1988-2015, Wine Treated Butt, Best Dram
Price per bottle: °°°°
Bottling: Best Dram
Cask type: Wine treated butt
Nose: Although 26 years of age, this one doesn't need oxygen but is quite present on the nose with toffee, caramel and a fruity sweetness, followed by pleasant wine and malty flavours. Hints of strawberries, ripe plums, roasted toast and dark chocolate combine for a wonderful rich nose.
Palate: Sweet and mouth-filling, warm and vibrant. Feels very tingly on the tongue. Dried ripe fruit followed by dark chocolate, with the balance between the maltiness and the fruit of the wine cask almost perfect.
Finish: Long and warming, with lingering dark chocolate and roasted flavours. Mouth-coating.
With water: Creamy nose, stays sweet on the palate with dark fruits and spicy chocolate. Intense tingly feeling on the tongue. Amazing.
Comments: Round, sweet and well balanced. Very pleasant to the taste and by no means overpowered from the wine cask. A perfect fit.
I thank the German independent bottler Best Dram for sample and photo.