We’re finishing off the week with two indie bottlers' Blair Athol offerings.
Whiskybroker Blair Athol 23 year old
Whiskybroker, if your unaware, is a company that offers cask storage and bottling, in addition to selling whisky from various distilleries on their site. Why should you care? We’ll they offer some incredibly reasonable prices. Take this release; a 23yo Blair Athol which was matured in a bourbon hogshead for twenty one years, finished in a sherry barrel for two, and sold for £87 a bottle.
On the nose there’s gingerbread, honey, chocolate orange, nutmeg, and a nice creaminess that compliments the rich sherry notes well. There's also some dried apricots and notes that remind us of a light sauvignon blanc. The additional sherry maturation seems to have given a lot of aromas but they're reasonably well balanced and not too aggressive.
There's some vanilla sweetness along with a little apricot and sultana initially, then earthiness, wet leaves and toasted wood follows into the relatively dry and long finish. There’s also some orange pith - the zestiness alongside a little bitter note on the back palate. The alcohol is a little punchier than expected here based on the restraint it showed on the nose. Overall it's pleasant but maybe a little woody, tannic and bitter.
Nose (with water)
The nose is showing a lot more orchard fruitiness, sweet apples and a little lemon. There's a lot more vanilla and icing sugar present now, and a lot of the richer sherried flavours seem to have receded into the background.
Palate (with water)
Again, sweeter on the initial palate with a little amaretto poured over vanilla ice cream. The mouthfeel is a little thinner though, and there's still an aggressive earthy, dark roasted coffee bitterness on the finish. There's some white pepper spice that's appeared and lingers on the tongue for a while.
This has a good balance of sherry, sweetness and old oak, especially after adding water. It's maybe a little too aggressive on the finish and lacking a touch of complexity, but it's still a very enjoyable dram at an unheard of price.
Adelphi Blair Athol 12 year old
Back to one of our favourite indie bottlers, Adelphi. This 12 year old spent its life in a first-fill Pedro Ximinez sherry hogshead.
This opens with chocolate coated raisins, milk, and dried figs. In the background there are notes of vanilla ice cream, fizzy sweets, earth, and a little caramel.
On the palate there’s rum and raisin ice cream, mocha, and lots and lots of sherry influence. Nice and viscous on the palate, the alcohol is integrated nicely. This just reminds us of molasses. It is a bit one dimensional in the sense that it’s overwhelmingly sherried without too many other notes.
Nose (with water)
With water this becomes spicier, with some ginger and star anise coming through. Bready notes of fruitcake laced with syrup. Our preference would be to have this without the water.
Palate (with water)
There’s caramel filled chocolates here, but some of the sweetness has been lost, overtaken by some more bitter wood notes. The finish is long with deep, rich mouth coating flavours. Again we’d skip water.
The standard for Adelphi is very high, which means that this bottle unfortunately misses the mark by a small margin. It’s very good, but being slightly one dimensional takes this from an 8/10 to a 7/10.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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