Dram review: Balblair 1990 Islay Cask 1466

This was the final part of the 3 dram Balblair tasting I was invited to. This is single cask Balblair that was transferred to an ex-Islay cask. Interesting stuff. Here are the dramstats:

  • ABV 50.40%
  • Price £124.95
  • Age 23 years

Nose: Very mildly peated dram with the smoke not coming through at first. Instead there is vanilla, pineapple cubes and white pepper. Lemon pith and a touch (and I mean a touch) of smoke. Melon boiled sweets and sea kelp shower gel when water is added.

Palate: Not so fruity initially. Oak, vanilla and pepper dominate. After time there is lemon oil and a herbal note. Melon and much fruitier with the addition of water as some mild peat smoke comes in.

Finish: Woody with white pepper. Drying. Water extends the finish adding more fruit in the form of Kiwi.

Verdict: I like it with water but I prefer the Balblair 1997 that they’ve just released. I’m not sure Balblair needs 20+ years or the addition of peat. As I said before, people have disagreed with my views on the older Balblairs, though everybody I’ve spoken to really loved the 1997 and so did I. This is way to pricey for my wallet.


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