Last in our ‘no brainers’ set of affordable adult whiskies was a Blair Athol.
Now for some, spending $160 for a whisky is not actually affordable. However when you consider it was matured for 27 years and bottled at cask strength… well… in some folks books this remains in the realm of ‘reasonable’.
From the Highlands, Blair Athol is by far the boldest of the bunch sampled, known for nutty, sherry and spicy whiskies.
What did we find?
Blair Athol 27 year (1988/2016) 55.7%
Distilled 14 Oct 1988, bottled on 16 May 2016, matured in refilled sherry butt Cask No 6845, outrun 565 bottles from Signatory’s Cask Strength series.
Here is what we found:
- Nose – Bold sherry elements – raisons, plums, rum toffee sweetness, musty old world oak, hint of mint
- Palate – Heavy and full bodied, chocolate nuts & raisins bar, candied citrus orange peel, christmas plum pudding, let it settle and a more vegetal quality emerges from beneath all the sherry berry elements
- Finish – Long and very dry with sweet spices
- Water – A dash brought out a cinnamon spice
This is a robust whisky, no mistaking the clear sherry stamp. If such a style appeals to you, then this is indeed a solid example. For one member, sweet sherry whiskies is right up his ally. For another, he prefers less obvious drams, where there is a more subtle balance between the elements.
Here is what The Whisky Exchange folks share:
A 27-year-old whisky from Blair Athol, matured in a refill sherry butt, specially selected by The Whisky Exchange and bottled exclusively for us. It’s a rich and obviously sherried dram, with balanced fruit and spice.
- Nose: Sharp aromatics leap out of the glass immediately after pouring – green leaves, freshly cut grass, and sweet and sappy oak – but they quickly burn off to reveal more sweetness underneath. Toffee and butter shortbread are joined by lemon drizzle cake, mixed fruit jam, apple sauce and thickly buttered fruit loaf slathered with lemon curd.
- Palate: Intense sweetness fades to reveal savoury notes – oatcakes and dry toast. Sweetness builds again, with toffee and spiced apple purée becoming almost overpowering, before revealing a core of sweet green leaves, caramel and citrus peel. The intensity softens, leaving floral and soft leafy notes.
- Finish: Sharp spice fades to honey and green leafiness.
- Comment: Intense but worth the ride – layers of sweet and savoury, focusing on the cask character.