Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Balblair: Tasting The World's Only Vintage Single Malt Scotch

Balblair scotch distillery has been around since 1790 but the name is fairly new to the American audience. Two of their products have finally made their way into the American market.

They claim to be the only distillery which bottles their scotch in vintages, just like wine.

Balblair 1991 ($129.99) and Balblair 1997 ($64.99) are the first two vintages that are available for purchase in the U.S. Distillery Manager John MacDonald handpicks the casks that he deems to have reached the peak of maturation each year and releases them as the single malt vintages.
To introduce these two vintages, Balblair recently invited some media and scotch lovers to a tasting party at The Edison (the ambiance there is a perfect fit with the bottle's design), where I sipped scotch and ate bruschetta with other bloggers and members of the LA Scotch club. I started the night out big with the 1991.

Balblair 1991 just received a rating of “Excellent Highly Recommend” in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Reminds me a bit of butterscotch and has a smooth and long finish.

The Balblair 1997, on the other hand, is spicier, has more bite but not as smooth and the finish isn't as long. I personally prefer the smoother 1991, but the characteristics of the two bottles are quite distinct and worth separate considerations.

By the way, the gorgeous picture on the gift box is supposed to be a hill behind the distillery. Makes you want to go visit, doesn't it?

At the tasting, a bowl of chocolates was prepared for us to pair our scotch with, starting from milk chocolate to 55% to 61% to 73% dark. Of course, I stuck with 61% and above :)
Dark chocolate and scotch? Yes, please. I will definitely keep that in mind next time I pop open my bottle of scotch.

*Photos courtesy of Balblair, bcs they look so much nicer than the ones I took.


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