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!

Coincidence?

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!

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!

 

North Shore Whisky Club tasting guide for 11/11/18
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
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Highland, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

Notes

Sept 26, 2018 TNotes
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
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Highland, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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, 4yrs in Oloroso sherry casks
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Highland, Oloroso Cask Finish, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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!

Notes

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
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Highland, Oloroso Cask Finish, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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 lineup in bottles

anCnoc 12yr

40%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Scotch, Single Malt, Speyside, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

Notes

This dram was a quick substitution for the Old Pulteney 17

 

Old Pulteney 12yr

40%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Highland, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

Notes

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 17yr

46%ABV
Archived
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Highland, Scotch, Sherry Cask Finish, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Notes

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

Old Pulteney & anCnoc in bottles

 

Southern  Brown Sugar Pie Bars portioned on a tray
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!

Tammy

 

 

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