Review – Balblair 1990

Balblair Distillery is located in Edderton, Ross-shire and is owned by Inver House Distillers, who purchased it from Allied Distillers (Hiram Walker) in 1996. Currently it has an operational capacity of 1.6 MLPA.

Balblair notably release their expressions as vintages rather than aged expressions and is classified as a Highland single malt.

Balblair 1990 Vintage (2nd Release), OB, 46%abv, from my collection (available here)


Notes of soft cedarwood and light spices are first on the nose, followed by some buttery toffee as well as a nice balanced mixture of marmalade, red apples and a faint but enticing florality.

The palate is hit first with some dark chocolate, some ginger and a little cinnamon. Vanilla intermingles with black tea and a touch of malty biscuits. The palate is not as buttery as the nose indicated, still at a very pleasant level however.

The finish is more spiced than sweet, with some lovely spice notes, cardamon and cinnamon mainly. The ginger from the palate is still noticeable alongside some wood notes, like damp wooden spoons. Theres a twist of black pepper before it all fades away rather pleasantly.

Nicely balanced, no surprises or off notes to be found. Having only previously encountered the 2003 this was a big step up in terms of quality.

Interestingly, whilst nosing the glass before washing it the next morning I am sure I could detect the faintest whiff of sulphur, which I didn’t pick up on at all earlier.

Quite a pricy purchase at around ¬£100 but I’d put it ahead of most others in that price bracket.

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