The third whisky review in the new revamped Balblair distillery lineup (after reviewing the 12 Year Old and the 15 Year Old) is the 17 Year Old Travel Retail exclusive. I was lucky enough to taste it over 2 weeks ago as the first bottles hit the Duty Free shops in the airports late April after the new line up was announced. But I waited with the review to get a second tasting in the official Twitter tasting we had tonight.
Balblair 17 Year old was too matured in ex-bourbon casks but was finished in first fill Spanish oak butts. I noticed that the 15 and 18 Year Old did not have the butts mention so maybe they were sherry treated hogshead?
Just like with the 12 Year Old and 15 Year Old (and the rest of Balblair whiskies, it wasn’t chill filtered and no color was added.
Balblair 17 Year Old (46%, ~£110/€115)
Nose: Not as enticing as the 15 Year Old, at least not at first where there was less sherry finish impact. Sour fruitiness, polished wood, again some soursweet stone fruit and eventually red berries.
Palate: Soursweet stone fruitiness, pears and apples, less spicy (horse) kick but still deliver lots of spices with oak spice, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, sherry vinegar and eventually a lots of bitter chocolate after the fruitiness recedes. Real good!
Finish: Medium length, sweetshop, sweet apples, sherry vinegar, chocolate, gentle cinnamon and nutmeg. Really liked the delivery on this one!
Thoughts: The palate is great here, really knocking it out of the park with gentle and complex spices flavours but also with long sweetshop sweetness on finish. If only it was with the nose of the 15 Year Old.