Whisky Review: Balblair 9 Years Old 2005 70.10 Teenage shenanigans

Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Balblair Distillery

Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society; Cask 70.10 Teenage shenanigans

ABV: 58.5%

Cost: £44 from SMWS [sold out]

balblairsmws70-10

What they say:

Teenage Shenanigans Cask No. 70.10

The nose conjured up a youthful romp in a hay barn: sweet peach perfume tangled with sticky homemade strawberry wine. Tropical fruits lip balm of mango and pineapple stole passionate kisses on perspiring cheeks. The aromas of early summer wafted through the dusky evening air: green twigs, gorse flower (coconut), cow parsley and lavender. A crumpled paper bag of sweets with dusty aniseed balls, parma violets, banana foams and Refreshers. Anais Anais and Vosene shampoo intertwined with scrumpy muffled promises never kept. Our rumpled scalliwags stole puffs from herbal cigarettes and tumbled their way home to separate beds.

Distilled: 11 May 2005
Age: 9 years
Cask type: Refill barrel
Region: Highland Northern
Bo0ttles: 242

What I say:

Balblair whisky and distillery I am still reasonably less than familiar with. I have several friends who love Balblair whisky and rave about it, but I found their vintages confusing especially as they release serial batches. I still haven’t had the opportunity to visit the distillery and by all accounts I should as it is rated as one of the most picturesque – so much so that it played a starring role in the film The Angel’s Share. Having recently taken part in Balblair’s festive treats twitter tasting and also familiarised myself more with their range I will posting a few tasting notes over the coming days that will firmly put their whisky (if not their distillery – hopefully I’ll visit soon!) on my map.

For starters we have this 2005 vintage, 9 year old release from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Cask 10 from distillery code 70 reveals how few Balblair casks have been bottled by SMWS and therefore how rare this one is. As with all SMWS bottlings, this is single cask (from a refill barrel) and cask strength, presented at 58.5% ABV! As part of our attempt to sample all the SMWS distillery codes this one was a must try anyway.

Colour:

Champagne gold (6/20), numerous medium-sized tears leave medium legs

Nose:

Fruity with a dry chalkiness, like love hearts sweeties, fizzy lemon sherbet, zesty citrus, green apples, tangerines/oranges, particularly zest and peel, slightly tannic oak wood, a little spirit with hints of fireworks/burnt aroma

Taste:

Mid or neutral sweetness, zesty, white pepper spice, lemon juice and zest, grapefruit pith, sour, woody oak a little bit green like freshly sawn or planed oak wood, sawdust, eucalyptus

Finish:

Medium, sharp and sour with citrus peel and pith

Overall:

Challenging at full strength, some nice distillery-led citrus elements but improves with water, sour grapefruit zest and spices prevail, young but may have been from a cask with little activity remaining so questionable if it would have improved with longer maturation – this was sure to sell out anyway as it was reasonably priced and rarely bottled by SMWS.

Score: 74/100