Blair Athol X3 tasting

blair athol logo

This was our first Blair Athol tasting, on 30th of September, in which we tasted:

  • Blair Athol 12yr old, flora and fauna series @43% ABV.
  • Blair Athol 1997 Sherry cask, Connoisseurs Choice range @ 46% ABV.
  • Blair Athol 21yr old, 1991, A.D.Rattray @56.8% ABV.

Blair Athol 12yr old 43% ABV (Flora and fauna series).

blair athol flora and fauna

Appearance

Mid gold and amber in colour, decent swirl line and medium thick legs #TheWhiskeyChaps

Nose

Cream soda, a touch of menthol, cherryade, barley sugar sweets, slightly dusty, with a little perfume. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Icing sugar, and i’m going to say almonds, it’s rather nice on the nose. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Palate

Ooooh i like this, sherry spices, cloves, figs, dates, black pepper and chillis. Lots of oak, cream soda still, perhaps blackcurrants too. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Apricots, some bitter lemon, mocha, i do like this, and it’s only the 2nd f&f bottling iv’e tried, very nice #TheWhiskeyChaps

Finish

Medium in length, and a real mix of sweet and spicy flavours, super well balanced, much like the palate, a very nice dram indeed, like @whiskeychap i’m very pleasantly surprised. #TheWhiskeyChaps

My thoughts

Well what a surprise this is, it may only be 43% ABV but it’s a really nice dram, lots of flavour and depth, not what i was expecting at all. At around £48 i’d say that’s pretty good, i’d have a bottle and it’s a bit of a gem.


Blair Athol 1997 46% ABV (Connoisseurs Choice).

blair athol sherry

Appearance

Very light in colour, white wine like, Nice syrupy swirl line with slow thick legs. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Nose

The rise in abv is quite evident here, with a nose very similar to the 12yr old tbh. Does come across as being spicier, but the similarities for me are amazing. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Slight menthol/pine needles, the perfume is here again, cream soda too, also dusty. Pineapple cubes, almost a gin feel too, those round haed boiled apple sweets. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Palate

Nice mouthfeel and the spiciness has been ramped up as the nose suggested. Sweet and bitter lemon, sherbet, pineapple cubes, white pepper, green grapes. Then cigar leaves, cocoa, char and some tanins. #TheWhiskeyChaps

The mouthfeel gets thicker and thicker, very nice, not much sherry influence tbh, much more bourbon cask for me, but very nice. Perhaps grapefruit, and there is some drying coming through too. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Finish

Slightly longer than the 12, spice hangs around longer too, and the flavours are much like the 12 tbh. Mocha, grapefruit, sweet and bitter lemon, perhaps more stoned fruits with this one, but very alike for me. #TheWhiskeyChaps

My thoughts

This bottling is rather tasty, but there is one problem, it’s meant to be from a sherry cask. The colour is ex-bourbon to me, and so is the palate, so either it wasn’t in a sherry cask for long or it wasn’t a very active cask. I do like the flavours here, but it’s not quite what it says it is. I’d be rather disappointed if i bought one hoping for sherry influence, and for that reason i wouldn’t buy a bottle.


Blair Athol 21yr old, 1991, A.D.Rattray 56.8% ABV

blair athol adrattray

Appearance

Quite light in colour, damp straw perhaps, medium thick swirl line beads up straight away with slow medium legs and teardrops. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Nose

The ABV hits the back of the palate on nosing, and i have to say the aromas are again familiar, pine needles/menthol, sweet lemon, wood polish this time, cocktail cherries, cream soda, and coming across as spicy too. #TheWhiskeyChaps

There’s almost a meaty aroma here, bbq type stuff, that is new. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Palate

Lovely mouthfeel again, and the ABV isn’t killing it tbh. It comes across like the 12 and 15, but its bolder, more forceful, with darker notes for me, liquorice, anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns, but a sweetness does persist throughout. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Grapefruit/pomello, blackcurrant jam, new make red berries, ginger root, cardamom, cigar leaves, pontefract cakes, cumin too, lovely lovely stuff. #TheWhiskeyChaps

Finish

That mouthfeel is super, bitter lemon, chilli’s, a touch of jamaican ginger cake, lemon drizzle cake, chocolate ginger biscuits. Mocha again, and a caster sugar dusting bringing along some sweetness, very nice whisky indeed. #TheWhiskeyChaps

My thoughts

This was the star of the evening for both of us. That extra ABV has a huge impact on the flavour. Some whiskies don’t need higher ABV, but in this case it really does show what Blair Athol whisky can be. It’s a belter of a dram, and i’d love to own one, sadly only likely to be available at auctions, if at all.


Overall tasting thoughts

This has been one of those tastings where i feel iv’e got to the distillery flavour profile, and it’s rather good. It is hugely overlooked, perhaps in part to the fact that much of it goes into Bells blended whisky, but if you get a chance to try it, i’d say try it, i would certainly like to try more from them.

Pic credits – The Whisky Exchange and Scotch whisky auctions

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