Blair Athol

 

 

Blair Athol distillery is located in the Highland region and close to Pitlochry, Perthshire.

It was founded in 1798 but closed soon afterwards.

1825 saw Blair Athol reopened by John Robertson, but sadly it remained operational for only 10 years before closing again.

Elizabeth Conacher took over in 1860, then in 1882 it was sold to P. McKenzie & Co. who even extended it, but then closed it in 1932.

 
 

Arthur Bell purchased the distillery in 1933 but production didn't start again until 1949 after much renovation.

Blair Athol was extended in 1973 as two extra stills doubled the capacity.

The owners United Distillers (UD), a part of the Guinness group merged with IDV to form UDV in 1998 and lay the foundation for Diageo.

Blair Athol has a capacity of around 2 million litres of pure alcohol per year, the majority of which eventually finds its way into Bell's blended whisky.

General whisky characteristics: Floral and nutty

 

 
 

More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness

 

Photos by Whisky Emporium photography

 

 

   

Blair Athol,  12y, 43% ABV

Flora & Fauna bottling

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Nose: Gentle marzipan wafting over Scottish heather on an Autumn day.

Palate: Initially very smooth and creamy opening into nuts and gentle toffee. This is followed by an after-taste of slightly stronger nuts which lingers delightfully on the palate. In the longer-term after-taste a slightly floral, heather-like presence becomes much more prominent.

Overall Impression: A nice dram, creamy, smooth and albeit not so complex, very pleasant indeed.

 

   
   

Blair Athol, Managers Choice, 1995-2009, 54.7% ABV

Cask No. 5989, bottle No. 459 of 570

Matured in European sherry oak

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Bugatti Kelch

Colour: Fresh, light gold

Nose: Complex, pear, slight leather and hints of butterscotch

Palate: Smooth, but again complex with an initially fresh character, then a mixture of slightly sweet caramel and butterscotch.

With 3 drops of water: This evolves into a much more floral character but still offers some toffee and butterscotch. Slightly sharp (spicy) now.

Overall Impression: A thoroughly enjoyable Blair Athol. (But the price!)

 

   
 

 

Blair Athol, NAS, bottled in 2010, 55.8% ABV

Distillery only bottling

Typical cost of this bottle;

 
 

Colour: Rich dark gold

Nose: Quite fresh with a light nuttiness and some milky / malty notes.

Palate: Very rich, nutty and creamy with no great alcohol pepperiness that one may expect from a CS 55.8% whisky. In fact this also offers some lovely floral & herbal flavours.

With 4 drops of water: Although the nose hasn't changed, the palate now has much more flora and herbal characteristics.

With 4 more drops of water: Again no change in the nose, but again the palate becomes even more floral and herbal.

Finish: Long and slightly dry. As water was added it became longer and more floral, perhaps even lightly perfumed.

Overall Impression: Lovely, lovely, lovely. Now why didn't I buy a bottle, or two?

 

   

 

 

Independent Bottlers (IB)

   
 

 

Douglas Laing, "Director's Cut", Blair Athol, 16y, 1995-2011, 58.1% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

The picture shows this new D.Laing presentation, but is a Macallan and not this Blair Athol

Dram-atics Live Review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Deep gold

Nose: This is initially quite penetrating, I can see me using some water on this one. Anyway, without water the nose is filled with musty wood and a suggestion of vanilla and banana, maybe even baked apple with a hint of cinnamon and raisins.

Palate:
Initially very smooth and very rich, almost syrup-like without being sweet. There's a massive burst of wood and liquorice root with hints of red pepper.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is now a little lighter, but still primarily offering wood, vanilla and banana. The palate is much less syrupy and definitely more preferable with that liquorice root and less pepper.

With a further 4 drops of water: The nose is ignificantly improved as it's much less penetrating. The palate now has some floral elements around that liquorice root.

Finish: very long without the water and a little shorter with it, but that's far from a complaint!

Overall Impression:
A very good whisky at extremely high strength which benefits very much from the addition of a few drops of water.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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