...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Balblair 13 year old 2006, cask 76 for K&L Wine Merchants

I've long supported Balblair distillery, and look forward to cheering them on for years and decades to come. Aside from the bulky bottle and box design from before their recent reboot, the Balblair single malt brand comes with minimal flashiness and hubbub. And the whisky is great.

I'm glad they started releasing official single casks, and it's fun to see them plopping sherry butts and ex-Islay casks into the marketplace. And whenever (if ever) international shipping gets easier, I'll get a bottle from their current age-stated range.

With only four Balblair pours to share, I will spare you another cluster. I'll start the quartet with a pair of vintage 2006 single casks this week...

Distillery: Balblair
Ownership: Inver House (via Thai Beverages plc via International Beverage Holdings Ltd.)
Region: Northern Highlands
Age: 13 years old (2006-2019)
Maturation: Spanish Oak Oloroso Butt
Cask #: 76
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Alcohol by Volume: 56.2%
(from a bottle split)


Marzipan, raspberries, earth and roses start the nose. It picks up more cask with time, gaining buttery caramel, prunes and toasted oak. The nose stays pretty similar once the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, though there are fewer prunes and more marzipan and caramel.

The palate is very winey, like the sweet Upstate New York reds (Thirsty Owl's Red Moon!) I used to drink almost two decades ago. Grape juice and caramel meet with raspberry syrup. It much mellower at 46%abv, feeling more like PX than Oloroso (or red wine, for that matter). It's jammy but not winey, specifically on blackberry preserves and dried currants.

It finishes sweet and warm, with grape juice and prunes. At 46%abv, one may find more blackberry jam and baking spices.


As per the above notes, this reads like a wine cask or one of McEwan's Black Farts. So, I guess one could say it's a contemporary sherry cask, complete with a dark reddish hue. It's not my jam — how often am I allowed to make that quip? — but it's not bad. I recommend diluting it, especially if, like me, you could do without all the prunes. Plus it feels more pulled together at 46%abv. I'd like to see this stuff with less fortified wine involved...

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - it was $110
Rating - 83 (diluted)