Balblair, one of the oldest working distilleries in the Scottish Highlands, founded over 230 years ago in 1790, recently gave its portfolio a refresh and is now exporting its age-statement single malts to the States for the first time. With Burns Night fast approaching on Jan. 25th, there's never been a better time to get acquainted with the timeless tipple.
The revamped collection spans a wide range of tastes starting with the 12-Year-Old ($69.99 USD) matured in American oak ex-bourbon and double-fired casks, with notes of dried orange, ground spices, and sweet vanilla; and followed by the 15-Year-Old ($119.99 USD), matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks, followed by first-fill Spanish oak butts, with notes of dark chocolate, tropical fruit, and creamy vanilla.
From there you can get into the 18-Year-Old ($209.99 USD), matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks, followed by first-fill Spanish oak butts, with notes of juicy apricots, vanilla custard, and raisins; and then finally graduate to one of the finest single malts on the market, the 25-Year-Old, matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks then reshaped in Oloroso Spanish oak, with notes of oily citrus, chocolate praline, fresh tobacco leaf and blood oranges, which costs nearly $700 USD a bottle.
“We are proud of our heritage and we will continue to honor our centuries-old traditions, but we also look forward in a quiet pursuit of perfection," notes Balblair Distillery Manager John MacDonald. "Our new collection is intrinsically linked to our heritage and is testament to the place and the people behind our whisky, while being emblematic of our ‘True Highland Spirit.'"
The design of the new collection is inspired by Balblair's idyllic location in the Scottish Highlands. The distillery continues to use its original water source, the Ault Dearg burn, to produce is subtly elegant whiskies. It also stands on a plot of historic significance, with a standing stone and stone circle, erected some 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, practically on its doorstep, referenced on the new labels.
In Scotland, Burns Night is traditionally celebrated with a rollicking, Scotch-soaked supper with plenty of haggis and bagpipe music. While that might be on hold this year, you can honor the tradition with a few (might we suggest several?) drams of this essence of Scottish spirit and heritage in liquid form, taking a trip to the Highlands with every sip. Slàinte.