More action from TWE Show 2018. Today, three pairs from Bladnoch, Benriach & Balblair.
For those following the Bladnoch saga, this is from ‘old’ stock, meaning it’s from Raymond Armstrong’s ten year stretch.
- N: Littlemill-esque, which means natural and [dry] grassy.
- T: Same again, though leaning more malty-fruity than some of the more lactose-driven Littlemill’s I’ve had of late.
- F: A tannic chew.
- C: Today I am more generous than my friends. I like Bladnoch.
Scores 83 points
Bladnoch 27yo  Ob. Talia Celebrating 200 Years 43% WB86.40
From ‘old-old’ stock, meaning it’s juice from the Arthur Bell administration.
- N: A soft nose, one that’s almost hiding.
- T: Soft again, delivering soft & silky aromatic barley juice. The wood is fully respectful to the spirit. You can imagine someone whacking a batch of young whisky into neutral casks/vat whilst the distillery organised & re-organised itself in the 1980’s. Further reading: SW.
- F: Light butyric.
- C: Of course the [£1000] price-tag is absurd with regards to the juice inside the bottle, but it is rare Bladnoch. Yet another sign of the times.
Scores 84 points
Benriach 28yo  TWE Show 10th Anniversary [106 bts] 48.8% WB86.33
- N: Fruity>chalky=fusty.
- T: Sweet/sherried/oaky/tannic – very Benriach!
- F: Very soft & deep, bitter-sour bung with some lingering sulphury tannins.
- C: Arguably a bit over but also a bit good.
Scores 87 points
- N: Incredibly reminiscent of the official 35yo [WB], with shared characteristics of that complexly consolidated, woody bitter-sweetness.
- T&F: Crystalised bitter=sweet sugars followed by a bitter herbal oakiness.
- C: Benriach fans will like this I’m sure, though again, some of us found it a bit ‘over’.
Scores 88 points
‘Discovery’ is one of a number of G&M’s new ranges, all sporting new updated liveries. They still haven’t all reached 46%, but they’re at least half the way there.
- C: Youthful, light, alert fruity distillate-led style, though a little green & simple for me to get too excited about.
Scores 83 points
Balblair 1969/2012 1st release Ob. [999 bts] 41.4% WB91.41
The two bottles allocated for TWE show had long gone by the time I asked to try it on Trade Day. Fortunately, Sukhinder had also asked to try it, so a third bottle was opened. I tried this back at TWE show in 2014 [score:89]. In all that time, only one other person has since scored it on Whiskybase. When Balblair released this 1969 for £1200 in 2012, the price seemed utterly bonkers. Prices for Brora, Port Ellen and older bottles of Karuizawa at the time hadn’t properly taken off. Indeed, in 2014, TWE were selling the 29yo Geisha Twin Label single casks [WB] for £375 a piece. There must have been a visionary or two at Balblair, because six years on, the price of their oldest vintage has begun to match the times rather well.
- N: Oily, nutty, fruit-laced hessian covered compote, muffins & pancakes.
- T: Yes yes yes to a savoury, dry yet juicy liquid-barley joy.
- F: Sweet-savoury liquorice with a savoury surge towards the end. Concludes with hessian > bung < barley.
- C: Fabulous. Nothing mind blowing, just so!
Scores 90 points