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Review: Balblair 1990 2nd Release

by Chris Perugini

Balblair continues to impress me. This small Highlands distillery releases their whisky in vintages to ensure that each bottle is not rushed. The first release of Balblair 1990 vintage was originally a 19 year ex-bourbon release in 2009 that they decided to move to ex-sherry casks for further maturation. The 2nd release is a stark departure from the original as the sherry casks add a whole new layer of depth and complexity. Was the extra maturation worth it? Let’s find out.

Balblair 1990 2nd Release - 46% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Copper
Nose Caramel and toffee up front, Christmas spice, dried fruit, some nice oak, hint of botanicals and perfume, raspberries, sour candy, vanilla, almond.
Taste More toffee, stewed fruits, creme brulee, plenty of oak, sherry influence, Vermont maple syrup, cotton candy, raisins, hints of citrus.
Finish Intense spice at first, red berries, slightly astringent oak, vanilla, pumpkin pie filling, spice comes back around at the end. Good length.
Overall Thoughts It's hard to believe that a company like Balbair is selling a 25 year old whisky for $129.99 in the midst of the greatest boom the industry has ever seen. It's like they refuse to get caught up in the madness of the current market and continue to put out amazing releases only when they are ready. If this bubble ever crashes, they certainly won't be a casualty of a market downturn. Bravo, Balblair. I am a huge fan of what you do both inside and outside of the glass.
Total Score 92/100

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