Since Balblair revitalised it's bottling style a couple of years ago, we have seen the distillery releasing a series of vintage bottlings. Of the youngest expressions we have seen 3 10yo's (or approximately 10yo). The 1997, the 2000 and now the 2001. This coincides with the distillery opening a new visitor centre.
This 2001 46% is upped in ABV from 43%, and is unchillfiltered. And I doubt there is added caramel, as it doesn't taste like that and the colour is delicious bright
In style this is faithful to the 97 and 00 vintages. It has got a bit more oomph and texture than the 00. The whisky is malty, nutty, vanilla and very fresh with a little sweetness on the finish. This would appeal to both geeky cask strength drinkers and those who have a more "normal" approach to whisky. It's not going to to revolutinise your whisky world but when whisky is represented like this it's a bit like drinking fresh beer opposed to canned/bottled beer , if anyone knows what I mean by that
Recently I served some blind samples on a vacation to the US.
Here are my views on two of them
2. Amrut 100. 57.1%
This is a special bottling by Amrut. 100 proof, 100cl's and it has been partly matured on 100l european virgin oak casks. The whisky was released with 100 bottled for five locations, of which one was Denmark-
I understand why this would easily come across people as being sherry matured as the european virgin oak casks have a huge influence on the palate of this whisky.
The Amrut 100 is quite peaty. Medicinal, spiced wood and an unusual complexity for a whisky this peaty. Very often wood inluenced complexity comes with aging a whisky, but aging a whisky also diminishes the peat content. So here you got the cask influence and the high peatyness combined.
Some Amrut's can be overpowering at Cask Strength but its not the case here. This even ends up with a sweet delicious. This is in league with the intermediate sherry cask Amrut
3. Pe1 58.7%
A NAS Port Ellen, you don't see a lot of those around :-)
From the very fine series Elements of Islay from Whisky Exchange
Licorise. Peat. You don't really get the age of this whisky as it it very potent and intense. The finish is delicious long with a nice soft peatiness dominating. A bit of buttery kinda the scotch way notes underlying as well
PS I tried the Pe2 at the Jazz and Beer Festival a few weeks ago, and I liked that A LOT more