Balblair revamped also the duty free range, offering the 12, 15 and the future 25 years old in travel retail, but has chosen to offer the Balblair 17 instead of the 18 year old. Why keep 75% of your core range on travel retail shelves just to replace a single expression? This is the third time I’m coming up dry in my quest to understand a move the distillery is making, but I guess the marketing guys do (or at least I hope for Inver House that that’s the case).
You have probably seen my take on the the new core range, and if not, you can see it here.
Either way, it is what it is, and now it’s time to stop ranting, and turn our attention to the liquid in the bottle:
Balblair 17 (46%)
Appearance: Bronze, with a thin necklace and sluggish legs.
Nose: OK guys, what went wrong? I was expecting a step up from the 15. Totally subdued with varnish and some sour farmy notes. The sherry is shyly hiding behind some red fruit jam. A hint of dried apricot and some white pepper. A drop of water brings out a whiff of honeysuckle and a touch of chocolate.
Palate: After an initial spicy wash, fruit galore come through, with hints of red apple and pears, with some faint hint of waxy feijoa and some dried pineapple.
Linger: Pepper and some earthy dryness. There’s a small hint of sourness and a lot of sweetness, with lovely spice running down the gullet.
The nose is weird, but the palate and finish are great.
While the 15 would win on the nose, this expression is the better sipper, but both are flawed.