Bought: Marks & Spencer, 29th July 2015
88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
80.38/100 – Whiskybase (average from 41 member votes)
I’ve been after a distillery release from Balblair for over 2 years, partially because they’ve been getting good reviews but mostly because I love the bottle shape! It’s certainly very cute. The first Whisky Bible I got by Jim Murray was the 2013 edition and the reviewed Balblair year-statements kicked off with 1965, which scored 96.5/100. Then followed 1969 – 94.5/100, 1975 – 94.5/100, 1978 – 94/100, right up to the newest 2001 release which scored 90.5/100. Clearly this distillery had been doing good things and for many decades!
My 2003 release scores a healthy 88.5/100 in the Whisky Bible 2015, which classifies it as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”. Jim Murray says of the taste “the delivery is an absolute treat, churning out a succession of confident barley themes in classic Balblair style, from eyewateringly salivating and rich to crisp and precise. The sugars are crunchy and follow a crispy route.” The author concludes with “so beautiful thanks to its understated complexity and honesty.”
A score in the low 80s on Whiskybase might not seem very high but all those that write a review are complimentary, including “Balblair 2003 is targeting an all-round audience with its sweet and spicy flavours”, “good nose, palate and finish. Youthful, fresh and crisp” and “classic Balblair brilliance.” One negative said it would be better if left in the barrel for longer but that would make it a completely different whisky, like one of the older Balblairs. That’s next on the shopping list!