Review: Blair Athol Distillery Only 2010

Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Blair Athol Distillery

Bottling: Diageo; Blair Athol Distillery

ABV: 55.8%

blair-athol-distillery-only-whisky

What they say:

Blair Athol single malt whisky, bottled in 2010 at cask strength and only available at the distillery – full of flavour and rather rare!

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Christmas spices on the nose with a fruity sherried note.

Palate: Big sherry flavour here with baked figs and plum. Cinnamon and clove spice completes a good balanced palate.

Finish: A long , sweet finish with a tiny touch of smoke.

Overall: A great dram from this underrated distillery.

What I say:

The Blair Athol distillery’s famously nutty single malt is produced to be the heart of blends such as Bell’s – for which they are the spiritual home. Amongst our many visits we have seen some wonderful looking old sherry casks – most likely going to end up in blends – the last batch of casks that took our eye were well over 30 years old! As for single malt expressions, there is the Flora and Fauna 12 Years Old bottling, and this Distillery Only cask strength offering which is bottled intermittently and is suspected to be of the same age. This bottle was produced in 2010 – though we also tried on in 2014 and another bottling has just been announced (October 2016) in the last few days. Another chance to sample this fine expression occurred during the final WOLS summer club tasting hosted by Thomas McEntee.

Colour:

Bronze amber (13/20), oily streaks run to medium tears leaving fine legs

Nose:

Heavily-spiced dried fruit/sherry, malty cereal barley, raisins, figs, plum sauces, leather, sherbet, red fruit jam, cinnamon, five-spice, star anise – all powdered spices

Taste:

Dried fruit and malt, raisin, figs, damson, plum, cereal barley malt, demerara sugar, slightly caramelised, cocoa powder/milk chocolate with hints of hazelnut (Nutella – again!), spun sugar – like sugar dummies, five-spice, cloves, a sprinkling of heat from Cayenne pepper

Finish:

Long, drying, tannic oak wood with sweet dried fruit & suede leather

Overall:

Surprisingly an improvement over the standard 12 year old – but not due to the alcohol strength alone, this dram almost hides that characteristic nuttiness under a heap of malt and sherry/dried fruit influences – with water a little more nut, leather and toffee are revealed. Just delicious.

Score: 86/100

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