#424 • Balblair 16 years old

46% alc./vol.
Balblair Distillery, Edderton, Highlands, Scotland

We can always count on our friends at Québec Whisky when the time comes to taste something rare. I was offered a mini of a whisky from one of the only Scottish distilleries currently working exclusively with vintages instead of age statements, Balblair. Well here is a sample so rare and old that it is a Balblair that displays just an age, 16 years to be more precise.

This 16 years was one of the most popular bottlings of the distillery before it passed to the vintage edition. Now rare, it is difficult to find on this side of the Atlantic, and again, its price is around 300 $ the bottle.

As the English lawyer and politician Nicholas Bacon (1510-1579) so aptly put it:

You have to eat spicy, but not both at the same time ...

Excessively wide legs on a hue so ambrée that one could call it "True Scotch" on the pallet Sico.

Nose:
Honey and barley, strong cereal, spices and butterscotch. Slight smoke. It does not really shine, but I find it difficult to fault it.

Taste:
Caramel and barley, cherry and vanilla. Fairly sweet, result of the lean 40% alcohol. Small leather that tells us that at least some of the used barrels formerly had to contain sherry.

Finish:
A tiny metallic side that is easy to sweep away to make way for juicy barley, honey, oak, spices and grapes.

Balance:
Another old edition that we will regretfully miss.

Note: ★★★★★

#421 • Aberfeldy 16 years old

40% alc./vol.
Aberfeldy Distillery, Aberfeldy, Highlands, Scotland

And here is a nice single malt that I tasted during a misty evening of New Brunswick Spirits Festival two years ago, the Aberfeldy 16 years old!

The Aberfeldy distillery has been bottling single malts under its name only since 1999, previously producing exclusively for blends de Dewar's since its foundation by John Dewar & Sons in 1896. A real shame! Fortunately we can today enjoy these single malts that are some of the most honeyed in the industry.

As the Swiss physicist, geologist and naturalist Horace-Benedict de Saussure, considered one of the founders of mountaineering (1740-1799) said so well:

Those who have excessive faith in their ideas are not well equipped to make discoveries.

Nose:
Malt and honeyed vanilla, very close to his little brother of 12 years, even the bottle design can be confusing. Some fruits and flowers.

Taste:
Slightly bland but sweet. Still powerful vanilla and honey, but its long sleep in the barrel gives it a little spicy punch.

Finish:
Of a rather average duration but pleasant still, carries on the wood and the spices.

Balance:
Very good, albeit a little overrated. The 12 years old does a superb job, and for just $ 50!

Note: ★★★★★