Blair Athol 12-year-old ‘Flora & Fauna’

Bought: The Whisky World, 28th August 2020

Ratings:

78/100 – Malt Whisky Companion 2015

83.09/100 – Whiskybase (average from 727 member votes)

If you’re ever fortunate enough to find yourself in Aberdeen (Scotland), the place I associate with Diageo’s ‘Flora & Fauna’ (F&F) range of single malts is the Atholl Hotel on King’s Gate. The bar is open to the public as well as paying guests. The hotel is set in a grand granite building in the wealthiest part of town so I’d recommend wearing a suit or posh frock, or perhaps both because it’s always cold in Aberdeen! The bar itself has a calm décor of light wood and subtle tartan fabrics with ample seating and the obligatory 60” TV stuck on the wall. The whisky selection isn’t vast (about 30 options including blends) but it’s dominated by F&F bottles, which take pride of place on the shelves at the back of the bar.

I was amused to read in Michael Jackson’s book ‘Malt Whisky Companion’ that he considers the Blair Athol 12yo to be a mid-afternoon drink. It makes me wonder what he recommends for breakfast! Mr Jackson says of the palate “spiced cake, candied lemon peel, lots of flavour development” and 78/100 puts this dram firmly in the “worth tasting” category.

Scoring slightly over 83/100 on Whiskybase from 727 votes makes the Blair Athol 12yo one of the highest scoring F&F bottlings still available today. There are plenty of people singing its praises. Comments online include “very decent whisky with a nice fruit component”, “impressive malt, very intense”, “mature, delicious and full of character” and “an extremely tasty all-rounder. Simply classic”.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: Nutty with sherried notes. Gentle peat. Crisp.

Palate: Good body, malty and sweet. Citrus and the peels thereof.

Finish: Peat smoke, syrup. Good sweetness, bittersweet, drying.

Here’s Swedish Whisky Girl on YouTube (August 2020) outside Blair Athol distillery in Pitlochry with her thoughts on the 12yo:

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