Blair Athol 1988 (Sansibar) Review

“Simply Irresistible”

Whisky Review # 842

Country: Scotland
Region: Southern Highlands
Brand: Blair Athol 1988
Bottled by: Sansibar Whisky GmbH, Bad Nenndorf, Germany- 203 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.7% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 240 (November 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: Good
Buying Advice: 😋It can't be cheap but it's delicious! Go for it!

Colour: Pale Gold/Chardonnay (Natural Colour)


Soft, Mature, Pleasant, Malty and Fruity. Sweet but not overly so. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. A few Dusty Warehouse notes.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Fresh Pastry, Bread, Mixed Breakfast Cereals, Grass, Dusty Straw, Wax, Salted Nuts, Fruit Cake with layers of Pineapple, Mango and Apple, Dusty Oak and a squeeze of Lime.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Sultanas, Slivovitz, Fresh Herbs, Nectarine, Mandarin, Banana, Pear, Ginger and Cinnamon.


The first word that comes to mind is Tasty! The combination of Creamy Malt and Sweet (Tropical) Fruit is simply delicious. A few Bitter, Dusty & Salty notes provide the necessary balance. Very nice!

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Fresh Pastry, Wax, Tropical Fruit Cake with layers of Pineapple, Mango, Papaya, Banana and Apple, Salted Nuts, Mandarins in heavy Syrup, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Leather, Tobacco and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Orange, Lemon, Tangerine, Fresh Herbs, Green Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Licorice.


Middle-Long, Creamy and Sweet. A few light Bitter/Salty notes provide balance. Quite Fresh and Vibrant considering its age. The Finish really invites you to have another sip. Well done! I find Malted & Toasted Barley, Pastry, Vanilla, Tropical Fruit Cake, Heather-Honey, Banana, Mandarin, Lemon, Slivovitz, Salted Nuts, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Tobacco, Leather, Fresh Herbs, Green Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Menthol, Wax and light Nutmeg and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and Fruity, Floral and Malty notes develop even more. It does move slightly in the direction of Tropical Fruit Liqueurs though. In prefer it neat but you you can certainly play with a few drops.

Rating: 89.5

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 22.5 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Excellent


The distillery was founded in Pitlochry (Pertshire) in 1798 by John Stewart and Robert Robertson, initially under the name Aldour. Only in 1825 did it receive its current name. It was mothballed in 1932 and bought by Arthur Bell & Sons, a family owned Blender. Production restarted in 1949 and from then on and until today Blair Athol became the heart of Bell's Blended Whisky. Eventually, the distillery, via take-overs, became part of Diageo. Only very few Single Malts are launched from time to time by Blair Athol so we mostly depend on independent bottlers in this respect. The only regular official bottling is the 12 Years Flora & Fauna. Blair Athol produces around 2 million litres of Alcohol per year.

I must congratulate both Blair Athol and Sansibar for producing this excellent Single Malt. It once again proves what a good Fruity Spirit, a good Cask and a perfect maturation can do. Mind you, this Blair Athol isn't extremely complex. It's a rather straightforward combination of Creamy Malt and Tropical Fruit. What does make the difference are these subtle notes of Dusty Oak, Tobacco, Herbs, Leather and Spices. It's simply delicious. A Single Cask of this age can't be very cheap of course but if you can still find it I advise you to go for it. You won't be disappointed. Blair Athol should really consider to focus a bit more on their Single Malt potential despite the obvious profitability of the Bell's Blend!


Jan van den Ende                                                              November 14, 2019

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

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