Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry is best known for being a component part of Bells Whisky with almost all of production being directed toward the blend.
The sole proprietary single malt from the distillery is the Blair Athol 12 year which forms part of Diageo’s Classic Malts selection, however there are a number of independent bottlings also on the market.
Signatory Vintage (or the Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company Limited, to give the full company title) are an independent bottler who also happen to own Edradour distillery which is where I bought this bottle.
This Blair Athol was distilled in 1988 and spent 28 years in Cask 6843, a Refill Sherry Butt before being bottled at a cask strength of 54.5%. It’s one of 567 bottles.
Our notes are below.
Immediate hit of rich butterscotch and then a selection of ‘golden’ flavours like sultana, brown sugar and golden syrup.
Just a touch of sulphur can be detected and then some sherried citrus with candied orange and lemon.
Slightly thinner liquid than I’d have expected given the strength. The first taste is sweet brown sugar, but quickly joined by a spicy, chocolate flavour.
Turns a bit earthy as it develops and there’s a hint of ginger too. Could detect a little ‘burnt match’ note in the middle of things; that sulphur again.
Dry and leathery, with some orange citrus and cocoa powder. Medium length finish.
Independent single cask bottlings can be a lottery at times, however that’s what makes them interesting.
This Blair Athol falls a bit short for me. It’s a decent whisky – but I’d expected a bit more complexity given the age. Also, without wanting to get all Jim Murray on the matter, the sulphur note was just on the edge of getting in the way.
For me, Blair Athol suits a sherry cask however there are definitely better expressions around.