Wassup with these Scottish folk? They must be getting awful darned bored sitting around up there on their windswept islands drinking their Scotches, getting a decent buzz going and then looking for something to do! So what do they decide to do? Why they remove the traditional age statements from their whiskies just to fool with our brains, confuse us and make us admit we didn’t pay much attention in grade school when it came to learning our math tables much less that pesky algebra thing.

Seriously! The last scotch I tried had absolutely no age statement at all forcing me to do research to figure out how old it was. And now, along comes Balblair and they only have a cryptic 2002 on their bottle. However, much to their credit, they do go on to explain that the contents was distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2012, thus forcing me to do the math and come up with 10 years old, even though it’s currently 2014. I believe that difference is explainable through a combination of Euclidian geometry, abstract algebra, quadratic formulas and polynomials, if you get my drift. In reference to those 2 years, let me make a very incendiary statement; whiskey does not age once bottled. Most of you should agree with me, but I’ll bet there’s a few who will disagree, so bring it on. (By the by, wine does indeed continue to age once bottled but it has more to do with its chemical makeup and alcohol content rather than anything else.)



Obviously, the good folks up at Balblair have had a great deal of time to sit around and think as their distillery was founded by John Ross in 1790 with the current buildings having been built in 1893. Their whiskey is aged in former bourbon casks and non chill filtered. Let’s get to it. The color is a very pale transparent golden that is lighter than ginger ale and looks very inviting. The nose is as delicate as the color with traces of green apples, a hint of vanilla, a touch of lemon zest and the slightest nuance of smoke and barley, peat, and bourbon. The palate is light yet tangy with the fruit forward green apple and lemon followed by light peaty smoke and that trace of bourbon. The finish is short and smoky sweet and very smooth. This is a scotch that hides its 10 years of aging behind delicate, crisp flavors that do not overwhelm and yet layers that with the underpinnings of smokey peat and bourbon that compliment rather than cover the fruit. This is a very nice, light and crisp scotch.

You can find this Balblair 2002 for around $61.60 per 750ml bottle at 46% ABV or 92 proof right now. Buy it NOW because it’s not going to get any older but you will!

By George Brozowski