Whisky Advocate

Review: Balblair, 1997 Vintage

June 14th, 2010

There are three vintage Balblair whiskies that I know of (1975, 1991, and 1997), and only two are (finally) being imported to the U.S.–the younger two.

I also have a review sample of the 1991 vintage, and I will post up my review of it soon.

Balblair, 1997 Vintage, 43%, $65
Very fruity (peaches in syrup, pineapple, golden apple, sultana) and satisfyingly rich in texture, with coating vanilla, marzipan and a potpourri of dried spice (especially on the nose and finish of the palate). Great balance too. Nicely done!

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 88

No Responses to “Review: Balblair, 1997 Vintage”

  1. Gal says:

    Very good dram for a good price.
    fruity is the keyword, you are on the spot there John.

    • John Hansell says:

      Thanks Gal. I am eager to try the older vintages. Anyone out there who has tasted them have any opinions on the older ones?

      • Steffen Bräuner says:

        I tried the 89 and 79 and both were very good whiskies as well. Both together with the 97 makes up a lineup thats among my favourite sets of OB expressions. I didnt try the 2 other you mention


  2. Seth Nadel says:

    I like their new package. It used to come in an ugly canister

  3. I love this malt, too. Intensely creamy and fruity with gorgeous vanilla. I would recommend this if, like me, you were just a tad underwhelmed at first by the Glenmorangie Original. The distillery is quite beautiful, too.
    Drinkers in the UK may be lucky enough to find a 5cl bottle of the 1989, especially in some of the better-stocked Whisky Shops. It is also available in that size at the Old Pulteney visitor centre and very reasonably priced for what is a twenty-year-old whisky (£7 approx.).

  4. Sku says:

    Inver House had a sort of coming out party for Balblair in LA that I attended in which they were offering tastings of both the 1991 and 1997. They have very different flavor profiles. The 1991 is more of a big malty number compared to the fruity/floral 1997.

  5. With such a good review, I would certainly like to taste the 1997 vintage. So far I only tried the 1991 which I found a little disappointing.

  6. Red_Arremer says:

    Inverhouse is really putting out some good whiskies these days, huh?

    John, what you should really ask them for is a sample of the new An Cnoc 16– The stuff is beautiful!

  7. I’ll have to retaste – I was actually disappointed with this one. I thought the 1991 was a bit more interesting in that it had more development and if I remember correctly some good malt and spice, but still didn’t strike me as being awesome.

  8. Steffen Bräuner says:

    Inver House are in my opinion doing a lot of things right with what they bottle. Old Pulteney, Knochdhu (An Cnoc), and Balblair are already having a range of really excellent whiskies. Just go pickup the OP WK499 next time you get thru a Duty Free (that have it) and you get your hands on some of the best cheap OB NAS cask strength whisky thats available. Hopefully the 3 mentioned distilleries will have enough succes so they start bottle more from Speyburn and Balmenach


  9. Greg G says:

    I had a mini of this and liked it very much. Thankfully I also have a full size bottle to dip into.

  10. B.J. Reed says:

    First tasted this in March 2007 and its taken this long to get to the states – This whole range of Balblair’s are really quite good and very different – The packaging is really very attractive -Not drinking the box but it you have a good product inside you can appreciate it! 🙂

    Also, Pultney is a great whisky by Inverhouse as well and my understanding is that they have plans to move up Speyburn which is often dismissed because their 10 YO has been so underpriced for years but Speyburn is not a bad malt and with new vintages/expressions likely to come out I think Inverhouse is making some impressive moves lately.

  11. […] is a continuation from my review of the 1997 vintage recently. Both were just released to the […]

  12. MARS says:

    Maybe you have a different batch in the USA or they are different batch of this vintage but the bottle I tried didn’t impress me at all. Probably one of the worst I have drink.

    • Steffen Bräuner says:

      Nothing wrong with the european either, one of the best 10-12OB around imo, but maybe the interplanetary exports isn’t the best 😛


  13. Sean says:

    Just picked up a bottle today. Not bad for $45. Peaches and cream, vanilla, lemon and some oak. Thanks for the review. A nice summer sipper.

  14. Steffen Bräuner says:

    Just got told at another forum by a trusted source that the 1997 (and othersfrom Blablair) are an ongoing vintage so the whisky is getting older and older, and the batches might differ !

    “One thing that was pointed out to me was that they are still bottling these vintages (for the moment) so the 1997 that used to be a 10yo is now a 13yo and the 1989 is now 20/21yo. Check your bottles for details.”


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