Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The single malt scotches, which were distilled in 1979 and 1996, were selected in a blind tasting by the French author of Les Routes du Malt, Martine Nouet; German drinks magazine publisher Christian H Rosenberg; US-based Noah Rothbaum, who edits Liquor.com; and the Taiwanese Ho-cheng Yao (aka Kingfisher), one of the Malt Maniacs.
Editors’ Cask #3828 (1979) has an ABV of 52.1%, costs €700 per bottle and will be available in 2012 throughout Europe.
Editors’ Cask #9973 (1996) will be available in the US and Taiwan from early next year, carries an ABV of 57% and is priced at $375.
The Glenrothes malt master Gordon Motion had chosen 18 casks for the tasting, which was then whittled down to two casks by the journalists.
After a consensus couldn’t be reached over the panel’s favourite, the decision was taken by brand heritage director Ronnie Cox to release both casks.
Ronnie Cox, brands heritage director, said: “I was delighted with the selections made and the arguments proffered in favour of one or the other.
“The assiduous quartet was far from concise in its debating. The experts split into two camps and agreed to disagree – a reflection of personal tastes and preferences but two outstanding casks nevertheless.”
The Speyside distillery has previously launched ten single cask whiskies but this is the first time the brand has collaborated with journalists for a release.