Founded in 1790 by John Ross, Balblair is the second oldest working distillery in Scotland. It lies in the Northern Highlands on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the village of Edderton, which incidentally tales its name from the ancient settlement of Eadar Dun, meaning ‘between the forts’. Distillery bottling’s of Balblair single malt whiskies are only available as vintage releases. This is something I have found sets Balblair aside from the rest because every bottle is limited edition, in the sense that only a finite number can be made per year.
Balblair 2001 First Release was distilled in 2001 and bottled in 2011. Matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks, this Balblair is non-chill-filtered and bottled without the addition of colouring, which means that the beautiful clear light golden colour comes from the maturation process! On the nose there is honey and a slight leather scent. Aromas of fudge, pear accompanies a zesty orange and lemon twang. It is superbly clean and fresh with small barley and grassy notes. The dominating flavours of this full-bodied malt are of lemon and ho0ney with green apple, vanilla, toffee along with a floral flavours. A beautifully layered finish that is both spicy and woody along with cocoa, malt and cinnamon.
I first tried the 2001 as part of a tasting in work, yes once again I am drinking for free! It is a favourite and though it is alot lighter in style to the 1989 that is to be expected being a much younger malt. That being said for a young malt it still has an exceptional smoothness about it that has made it a favourite! A bottle costs in and around £40 to £45 however this price will only go up be it slightly due to it being a vintage and a finite amount of the first release will be available.