Showing posts with label Balblair 15. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Balblair 15. Show all posts

Balblair 15 Years

”I Go To Sleep”

Whisky Review # 915

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Balblair
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon casks with Finish in First Fill Spanish Oak butts.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 70-85 (May 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: ­čśÉOkay, considering its age. 
Buying Advice: ­čśöOkay for new Whisky fans. Slightly Boring for the advanced.

Colour: Amber (Natural Color)


I wonder if there's some New Oak involved in the maturation because I get a light Varnish note that is quite typical for that kind of wood. Other than that the Nose is mainly composed of Cereals, Caramel, (Dried) Fruits and Spices. Not bad but quite mainstream i.e. slightly boring. The Sherry influence is limited, yet noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Apricots and Apples, Citrus Peel, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Cocoa Powder, Nuts, Marzipan, Charred Oak and Sawdust, Grass, Dusty Track, Caffe Latte, Dark Berries and Cherries, Banana Ice Cream, Dried and Fresh Herbs like Mint and Parsley, Pepper, Ginger and Cardamom. A distant hint of Leather-made Shoes.


In line with the Nose. Mainly Sweet but with a few mildly Bitter and Sour notes as well. Medium-Dry. Some of the Dusty & Sour notes suggest that not all casks used were of the best possible quality. There's nothing terribly wrong with this Balblair but I had to fight some serious yawning during the Tasting session. The Alcohol is not totally incorporated by the way. The general mouthfeel is slightly Thin.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Caramel, Buttered Toast, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricots, Plums and Prunes, Red Berries, slightly Sour Cherries, Green Apple, Orange, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Demerara Sugar, Marzipan, Nuts, Dusty Track, Oak Char, Sawdust, Grapefruit, Lemon, Cocoa Powder, Dried & Fresh Herbs like Mint and Parsley, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves & Cardamom. Distant hints of Tobacco & Leather.


Middle-Long. Mainly Sweet but with a few Sour and light Bitter notes towards the Medium-Dry end. A mild Alcohol bite. I find Malted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Butter, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak, Dusty Track, Nuts, Red Berries, Sour Cherries, Green Apple, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Mint and that distant hint of Leather again.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve the taste and Finish of this Balblair. On the Nose however the Malt notes deepen and the Buttery feeling increases. A few drops can't hurt but don't overdo it.

Rating: 84.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat:



Balblair is located in Edderton (Tain) and is one of the oldest Scottish distilleries. It was founded in 1790. Since 1996 it is owned by Inver House Distillers, a part of the Thai Beverages PLC. In 2007 the entire range was relaunched on the basis of Vintages instead of Age Statements. Glenrothes did this as well. But this changed again in 2019 and a new Age-Statement core range was launched with the 12, 15, 18 and 25 Years. The Spirit is also used in Blends like Hankey Bannister and Inver House. The visitor centre was only opened in 2012. We visited this great looking distillery in May 2017 and did a very nice tour. Extra attention is paid to the fact the distillery was part of the set for the movie "The Angels Share" released in 2012. The distillery produces around 1.5 million litres of Spirit per year.

The Balblair 15 Years is one of those Single Malts that, while certainly not bad, does not arouse any feelings with me. If I would have bought a full bottle and would have finished it, I probably would have said: Well, okay. But I didn't buy a full bottle and I'm not going to as well. It's okay and inoffensive for beginning whisky fans but it's too Mainstream and boring for me. This could have been so much better with 100% quality casks! You can do better Balblair!


Jan van den Ende                                                                           May 19, 2021

All Pictures taken during our visit in May 2017