Whisky Review – Balblair ’04 travel exclusive (bourbon cask)

Balblair ’04 travel exclusive (bourbon cask)
No colouring. No chill filtration.
46% ABV
~ £50 (1 litre) from airports everywhere.

Another bloody travel exclusive. I don’t blame the industry for travel exclusives, but I do find them a little bit annoying as I don’t travel an awful lot to get the opportunity to buy such exclusives. Fortunately though I flew to Glasgow for the excellent adventure which was Dramboree. And on the way, I grabbed this little beauty.

Of course I recently learnt there is also a Sherry cask variant for Asian markets, which I have to say reintroduced the annoyance factor. Anyone going that way wanna pick me up a bottle or so a bottle share? Drop me a message. 🙂

Nose.

Quite prickly with alcohol, so don’t go nose first. Behind the alcohol is a lush deep vanilla, exceptionally creamy and sweet. There is a mineral nature also, hidden quite beyond, some chalk and some herbal garden notes. Sage. New potatoes! Yeah. Buttery new potatoes. Nice. Some maltiness. Fruit wise we have some light lemon citrus, a touch of sherbert. Possibly a touch of coconut milk lingering in the background.

Palate.

Juicy. Clean and fresh. Lemons come through immediately, with the vanilla. A little more complexity in the fruits, with a touch of light orange and some peppered pears. Then some oak and spices comes into play with the more intensive spicy vanilla taking over in the development. Very thick in the mouthfeel and chewy with it, it’s lovely to roll this one around the extremities on the mouth.

Finish.

Drying, fruit and custard hangs around, a dash of herbs, everything dries out nicely with a touch of oak splinters lingering.

Adding water.

A fair few drops added. The nose is now full of floral and vanilla, with a few added sugar notes giving a little more confectionary to the overall aroma. The palate has some more herbal notes throughout the arrival, still intensive, but a little less on the fruity side, with the dryness of the oak and a touch of more sour tannins coming through the later development. The finish, drier, slightly longer, the sour/wood bitters carry through. Honestly, one I prefer without the water addition, although some May like the variation, something to explore, experiment and finding your own personal way with dependant upon your personal palate. With a little more time in the glass some of the previous vanilla intensity returns with some added creaminess. This is quite the every changing dram. One to savour over longer periods of time.

Conclusion.

A lovely dram. One to spend some time with, relax around and savour slowly. Complex and interesting to experiment with water. It’s not a rushed game this one. Take your time, kick back and enjoy.

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