Balblair are a highland distillery along the east coast of Scotland towards the north east. It is near the likes of Glenmorangie and Clynelish. The distillery state the vintage year and the year of bottling on their bottles. I have written a more detailed introduction to the distillery in my review of the 05 vintage, so check that out if you have not already seen it. I was impressed with the 2005 vintage which bottled in 2016 making it approx. 10-11 years old. It had a light and floral characteristic that was delivered at 46% with a punch. I felt that the spirit led the flavours which I liked. This is the 2003 vintage bottled in 2015 making it approx. 12-13 years old. So slightly older than the 05 but made 2 years earlier and bottled a year earlier. As with the 05 vintage, this is presented at natural colour and is not chill filtered.
Whisky: Balblair 2003 Vintage Bottled in 2015 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 46%
Nose: Light honey, vanilla, oak, apples, citrus rind, baking spices
Taste: Honey, cinnamon, apples, malt, lemon, butterscotch, liquorice, tea
Finish: Honey, aniseed, toasted oak, tea
Summary: The characteristics that came across in the 05 vintage appear here too in the form of citrus and honey. The difference with the 03 being the introduction of more spice and and bitterness with cinnamon and tea notes. This is delivered with a pleasant crispness and makes for an excellent summer sipper. If you have tried the 05 vintage and enjoyed it then I recommend you try this one. I actually think this is a great single malt to introduce to people that do not regularly drink whisky given the flavour profile and quality of deliver. I have got a bottle of the 2000 vintage which I will review in the coming months.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com