Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by Gavin0
Balblair 99 Single Malt Whisky
Being the only (alleged) food and drink connoisseur in my family, a lot of pressure is put on my shoulders at Christmas time. It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to introduce the extended members of the De Costa family tree to a new spirit that has caught my attention over the previous twelve months.
Last year it was Haig Club’s brilliant single grain whisky that had them waxing lyrical (the David Beckham connection had them especially impressed), and the year before they were left in awe by the incredibly smooth Herradura Reposado tequila. This year, with only four days to go I was struggling big time…until yesterday when a small package arrived at my door.
The parcel contained Balblair 99, a fifteen year old, 46% ABV single malt Scottish whisky from the Highlands of Dornoch Firth. The Balblair Distillery enjoys a rich history beginning their journey into whisky folklore in 1790 which is proudly displayed all over the presentation box that accompanies my bottle.
With over 225 years experience you’d expect the recipe to success to be a closely guarded secret, but in fact they make it clear for all to see that “timing is everything”. What this means in practise is that every cask is rigorously sampled by Distillery Manager John Macdonald, and it is his sole responsibility to decide when the golden liquid has reached the peak of perfection (tough gig eh?).
And the result of this meticulous process is one of the richest spirits I’ve had the pleasure of sampling. Jam-packed with hints of vanilla, nutmeg, honey and raisins, Balblair 99 is full of Christmas cheer. The sweet flavour comes from aging in ex-bourbon and sherry casks, but don’t let that put you, this is just as sippable as any peaty single malt.
It soon dawns on me that one of the reasons I love Balblair 99 so much is because of the similarities to my most beloved rums, and with a gaggle of rum devotees awaiting my presentation on Christmas morning, it’s sure to be another winner.
Balblair 99 is available to buy from their online store priced £62 / 70cl. Online shop reopens after Christmas break on 5th January 2016