It’s not often I taste the same lineup, presented by the same person, in a span of weeks. Having Nick Taylor present Balblair & Old Pulteney was a treat!


Last weekend I went to a BalblairOld Pulteney single malt scotch tasting hosted by the North Shore Whisky Club and presented by Nick Taylor. It was a pleasant evening, and I even got to pair a dessert for the group (more on that later). Not too long ago, I went to Whisky Wednesday at Gordon’s DTX for a (wait for it…) Balblair Old Pulteney single malt scotch tasting presented by Nick Taylor. Who’da thunk it? It’s not often that I get to taste the same lineup, presented by the same person, twice in a span of weeks (actually, some of this lineup I’ve had before exactly a year ago but let’s not get pedantic). Nick was so informative at both events, both informing and entertaining us at each event. Such a treat!

(Side note: I’m hoping to talk with Nick again for a “People in Whisky” post sometime. Stay tuned).

What struck me as I was comparing my notes from the two tastings was the (mostly) consistent nature of my descriptions. Now to some, that observation wouldn’t be remarkable, but I like to think that as I gain experience tasting whisky, I’m getting more discerning. I’ve come a long way since starting this journey, and that, to me, is growth.  I’ll let you decide…I’ll present both sets of tasting notes for the repeats below. Time to raise a glass!


Balblair & Old Pulteney, Nick Taylor, Balblair, Old Pulteney, Brown Sugar Pie Bars
Our lineup for the evening…twice


Balblair & Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Tasting

Hosted by the North Shore Whisky Club, presented by Nick Taylor, November 10, 2018

(previously at Gordon’s DTX, also presented by Nick Taylor, September26, 2018)

Balblair ’03

46%ABV, 100% ex- bourbon casks

  • Nose: honey, vanilla, floral, cream
  • Taste: soft toffee, vanilla ice cream
  • Finish: light white pepper, soft cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Comments: nice & easy, sweet yet softly spicy; a couple drops of water softens the white pepper and brings out a little herbal quality, mossy


Sept 26, 2018 Notes

  • Nose: plums, honey, dried flowers, brown sugar
  • Taste: thick, soft, baking spices, clover honey, plums, a little bit mossy
  • Finish: fades to soft baking spices and brown sugar, lingers long with light herbs
  • Comments: sweet and approachable



Balblair ’05

46%ABV, 100% ex bourbon casks

  • Nose: oaky, toffee brittle, moss, vanilla fudge, leather, poached pears
  • Taste: enters soft light brown sugar, leather, wood, bright hay, pine, light body
  • Finish: fades slowly, hay and sunshine, bright pears
  • Comments: no pepper, very bright and clean, has character



Balblair ’99

46%ABV, 12 yrs in ex-bourbon casks, 4 yrs in oloroso sherry casks

  • Nose: vanilla, honey, plums, dark brown sugar, raisins, golden syrup
  • Taste: sweet and rich, med body, plums and pears, caramel syrup
  • Finish: caramel and plums lasts and lasts, light burn at the back of the throat
  • Comments: a wonderful balance of cooked fruit, light orchard fruits, caramel syrup; very easy to drink, so pleasant…excellent!


Sept 26, 2018 Notes

  • Nose: prunes, flowers, caramel candy, vanilla fudge, lightly hay
  • Taste: thick, soft caramel candy, cooked prunes, baking spices of cinnamon and allspice, white pepper
  • Finish: fades to light menthol, cinnamon and cloves
  • Comments: less sweet, more straightforward, Autumn spices rather than candy, very good!


Balblair ’90

46%ABV, 21 yrs in ex-bourbon casks, 4yrs in oloroso sherry casks

  • Nose: soft aroma, plum jams, creme brûlée, burnt sugar
  • Taste: rich and oily, sweet full caramel candy, some cinnamon
  • Finish: doesn’t linger, the sweetness closes down to warmth and cloves
  • Comments: like drinking cooled caramel, rich flavor of caramel and jam


Balblair & Old Pulteney, Nick Taylor, Balblair, Old Pulteney, Brown Sugar Pie Bars


anCroc 12

A quick substitution for the Old Pulteney 17

  • Nose: flowers, honey, clover, citrus (oranges, lemons, limes), light pine
  • Taste: light and bright, citrus curd, potpourri, medium body
  • Finish: floral perfume, lemon curd, ends in pine
  • Comments: so bright and clean! Really like this the one


Old Pulteney 12


  • Nose: vanilla, ocean breezes, nutmeg, dark plums, lemon zest
  • Taste: vanilla, salted popcorn, lemon zest, barley sugar
  • Finish: menthol rises, fades to softly salty sweetness
  • Comments: distinctive with salty and sweet


Sept 26, 2018 Notes

  • Nose: light ocean breezes, vanilla, orange zest, light brown sugar
  • Taste: thick and chewy, leather, dusty, caramel, light orange zest
  • Finish: flavors fades fast, leaves cinnamon and caked salt behind
  • Comments: body without a base, the savory flavor is intriguing, quite good


Old Pulteney 17

46%ABV, ex bourbon and ex sherry casks, archived

  • I was busy serving dessert, so I missed this one


Sept 26, 2018 Notes

  • Nose: green leaves, vanilla, cardamom
  • Taste: very thick & chewy, strong vanilla fudge, cloves, soft white pepper
  • Finish: fades fast, salted caramel sauce, cloves
  • Comments: so thick you’re almost eating it


Balblair & Old Pulteney, Nick Taylor, Balblair, Old Pulteney, Brown Sugar Pie Bars


Balblair & Old Pulteney, Nick Taylor, Balblair, Old Pulteney, Brown Sugar Pie Bars
Southern Brown Sugar Pie Bars all dressed up for the evening


What about the pairing?

Remember the Southern Brown Sugar Pie from last week? It was so good with The Balvenie I had paired it with at the Outlander premiere party, I decided I wanted to make it for this Balblair & Old Pulteney single malt tasting also. However, pie isn’t easy to make for a crowd, unless you make it in a sheet pan (aka a slab pie). I set about researching how to adapt the recipe to make in a sheet pan, and the resulting Southern Brown Sugar Pie Bars worked beautifully, especially served with a dollop of whipped cream. I’ll give you my recipe in a future post (we’ve got Thanksgiving here in the US next week), so keep an eye out for that. Whatever your traditions, I wish you, Dear Reader, a Happy Thanksgiving…I’m certainly thankful for good sweets and good scotch, aren’t you?

Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!




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