Balblair Vintage 2000 Single Malt Scotch
While attending the Universal Whisky Experience in Las Vegas a few weeks back, I had the opportunity to sample a plethora of some of the rarest and most exclusive whiskys many of the top distilleries of the world had to offer. Now, not all Scotch Whisky and I get along. I tend to prefer the lighter, crisper Speysides or milder Highlands as opposed to the more peat saturated and phenollically gifted Islay’s. As I bounced, and later stumbled from booth to booth, I came across a legendary albeit lesser known Single Malt scotch called Balblair.
The Balblair distillery is located in the highlands of Scotland and was founded by John Ross in 1790, near the village of Edderton. The location of the distillery was chosen in order to collect the pure water of the Allt Dearg, which has been providing the distillery with high quality H20 for over 200 years. Each year John Macdonald, the Distillery Manager, hand picks the crème’ de la crème from the Balblair stable of maturing whiskys with the intention of finding what he believes to be the best example of Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch. Last evening I sampled the 1st release of the Balblair Vintage 2000 and Wow, was I pleasantly surprised.
At first glance the BalBlair has a light golden hue and is extremely clear with only a few sedimentary particulates dancing around the base of the stout and stylish bottle. The nose has a warm and sweet vanilla scent similar to that of a Kentucky bourbon, combined with hints of pears, green apples and a mild peat. Upon tasting, the initial flavors reminded me of a Speyside with bright profiles of pineapples, pears, and green apples stealing the show. However, not to be outdone, essences of vanilla and honey slowley began to emerge, thanks to the Balblair’s long maturation period in American ex bourbon oak barrels. Accompanying the sweet notes is a warm and exceptionally balanced peat flavor that remains perceptible, yet restrained from the first taste straight through to the finish. The combination of sweetness and rich spices combined with crisp and bright fruit profiles makes the Balblair 2000 a rare treat and a perfect transitional scotch for those of you who are looking to branch out from your traditional repertoire of bourbons and whiskies. Retailing for around $50.00, the Balblair with its bright flavors and dynamic complexity is simply a steal compared to other scotches priced within a similar range. So if you’ve always steered clear from whisky’s and scotch’s and preferred the sweeter and peat-less American bourbons, then grab a dram of Balblair 2000 for yourself and see why this is without a doubt the perfect Scotch for you!