Balblair Moves Away From Vintages To Age Statements On Its Scotch Bottles - The Whiskey Wash

Balblair Moves Away From Vintages To Age Statements On Its Scotch Bottles

By Nino Marchetti / April 5, 2019

The Balblair distillery in Scotland, established in 1790, is noted as being one of the oldest working distilleries in the Scottish Highlands. It has, for many years now, been one of a handful of Scottish distilleries to publish vintage dates on its bottlings instead of age statements. Now, in a move which mirrors Glenrothes’ from last year, Blablair is retiring its vintage-based approach in favor of the age stamp across its core line up.

Balblair’s new collection of age-statement single malt Scotch whiskies, according to those behind it, consists of 12-, 15-, 18- and 25-year-old expressions, each with their own cask aging specifics. All are bottled at 46% ABV and, while now with age statements and new packaging (see below for more on that), it is said the four offerings “as a whole stays true to Balblair’s house style.”

Balblair 2019 Collection

Balblair’s new age statement collection (image via Balblair)

“As one of the oldest working distilleries in the Scottish Highlands, Balblair has a long and rich history of crafting premium single malt Scotch whisky,” said Matthew Jamieson, Brand Manager for Balblair, in a prepared statement. “We are proud of our heritage and we will continue to honour our centuries-old traditions, but we also look forward in a quiet pursuit of perfection. “Our new collection is intrinsically linked to our heritage and is testament to the place and the people behind our whisky, while being emblematic of our ‘True Highland Spirit.'”

With regards to the packaging, it is said to retain Balblair’s iconic bottle shape, but from their a new brand logo takes shape, including making use of a new label font that “is a contemporary adaption of the typeface used on the old sign at the distillery entrance.” There are some other notable changes as well. As for each of the expressions, specifics are below, including tasting notes. All should be trickling into global retail now.

Balblair 12-Year-Old (£45, or around $60 USD)
• 46% abv, matured in American oak ex-bourbon and double-fired American oak casks
• Colour: Polished gold
• Aroma: Elegant bright lemon peel layered with creamy vanilla and crisp green apples
• Palate: Ground spices and dried orange slices enveloped in intense set honey sweetness
• Finish: Creamy and leathery with notes of sweet vanilla

Balblair 15-Year-Old (£75, or around $100 USD)
• 46% abv, matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks, followed by first-fill Spanish oak butts
• Colour: Bright amber
• Aroma: Leatherwood honey and spicy gingerbread followed by juicy prunes and fresh lemon peel
• Palate: Velvety in texture, bursting with dark chocolate, tropical fruit and spices
• Finish: Long and mellow with notes of creamy vanilla and citrus

Balblair 18-Year-Old (£120, or around $160 USD)
• 46% abv, matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks, followed by first-fill Spanish oak butts
• Colour: Oiled cedar
• Aroma: Rich toffee and baked pears shine bright against an elegant backdrop of new leather
• Palate: A masterful balance of juicy apricots, seasoned oak and vanilla custard
• Finish: Long and warming with chords of fresh spices and raisins

Balblair 25-Year-Old (£500, or around $655 USD)
• 46% abv, matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks then reshaped in Oloroso Spanish oak
• Colour: Hot copper
• Aroma: Indulgent overripe apricots and dark liquorice stand out against polished oak and a touch of saddle wax
• Palate: Full-bodied with oily citrus, chocolate praline and a faint note of fresh tobacco leaf
• Finish: Warming with smooth chocolate and blood oranges