Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Balblair Distillery

Balblair Distillery
Ross-shire IV19 1LB

North Highlands, Scotland - Active

Flavour profile

My impression of Balblair is that it's chockful of fruit. Quite a lot of "yellow fruits" (as opposed to red fruits) - pineapple and lemon - and some floral elements that vary from whisky to whisky, and consequently I can't pin down. The fruit tends to be quite sharp, and the whisky quite tangy.

Slightly chaotic Wordle here, but it shows pineapples, apricots and lemons as major flavour elements. That's accurate for the 2 official bottlings that I've tried, at least, but for the Balblair 40 yo, there was a lot less fruit than more usual sherried whisky elements.

All the Balblairs I've tasted so far are here.

Balblair 1997 9 yo (1997/2007) - good
Balblair 40 yo 1965/2007 - very good
Balblair 1989 17 yo (1989/2007) - very good

Distillery history

The first licence was obtained by John Ross in 1790, but there had been distilling on Balblair farm for about 40 years before that. The distillery stayed in the Ross family until 1894, when it passed into the hands of one Alexander Cowan, and eventually to Allied Domecq, who then sold Balblair to Inver House Distillers. The distillery moved at some time early in its history, but it kept the same ownership, and moved only a short distance.

The distillery was silent from 1911 to 1948. In February 2007, all 8 age statement bottlings were discontinued and replaced with 3 vintage bottlings, 1979, 1989 and 1997.

Potted distillery facts

Water source: Allt Dhearg, 4 miles from distillery.
Six, Oregon pine, 22,000 litres each.
Wash stills:
One, normal Dumpy neck, 19,093 litres.
Spirit stills: Two, normal Dumpy neck (old one no longer in use), the one in use is 11,044 litres, and the old one is 8,182 litres.
Spirit still Lyne arm: Almost a right angle
Production per year: 1,300,000 litres.

- The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, Misako Udo


Dr. Whisky said...

Hey Red.
Great stuff.
Just a techincal comment; the link to all Balblairs tasted leads to Lagavulin.

Red Hare said...

Thanks! Fixed.


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