Whisky Review – Blair Athol 18 year – Old Malt Cask

Blair Athol 18 year – Old Malt Cask
50% ABV
Non-Chill Filtered
No added colouring
Available for £100.00 From the Whisky Shop
On first sniff old sherry oak. Polish and dusty wooden furniture. This nose has a dusty intensity of fine pepper. Breathtaking. Vanilla. Varnish. Acetone. Pear drops. Stewed pears. Boiling Strawberry jam that’s just about to burn. Cigarette smoke. Heavy oak char. After a little time in the glass the fruity berry jam notes take over. Strawberry & blackberry, with a touch of underripe banana and orange. Spicy pepper and vanilla spices. Old oak and some wood glue. 
Immediately very sweet. Boiled sweets. Quickly the alcohol and spices jump in, but always remains very very sweet with a touch of wood sour. Then we have lots of creamy vanilla, buttery rich and very nicely textured. Lots of spices continue through the development. Pepper and borderline chilli heat. Bracing. 
Medium-long length finish. Fruit juices and oak remain, fading to leave some wood and dried fruits. With a hot bitterness left behind. 
Adding water.
Adding a splash, think this will take water well. The nose has a softer ginger concentration now. Some sweet pepper relish and chilli jam. The fruit jam notes more well defined where the dilution has cut through the heavier spices. The palate is now far more accessible, fruits are richer, with some added cherries, toffee and runny honey. The finish is sweeter and feels longer, with the sweetness carrying through with a touch of cocoa as the oak notes dry out at the end. 
This is a flavoursome dram, but quite difficult to drop strait into. It needs water and time in the glass to develop and calm down. It’s quite a beast without patience so this could put some people off. 
Thanks to the Whisky Shop’s W club for providing the sample. 

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