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Did you know that Blair Ahtol originally was called Aldour Distillery? No? No matter, not many do. But they had a difficult start, to say the least. Founded in 1798, thus being one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, they changed hands five times before being closed in 1932. Until Arthur Bell stepped in. Since 1998, she is Diageo-owned. But enough with the history already, let us taste Bert Bruyneel’s bottling. This Blair Athol for Asta Morris was distilled in 1998 and released in 2012.
After a hesitant start, the nose develops enormously. Up front some fruity notes emerge, like apples and gooseberries. Very waxy, by the way. Like recently polished leather of wooden floor. Something like marzipan and a touch of gyproc. Mildly floral as well. Some earth. A touch of caramel and cinnamon. Quite complex.
It is wonderfully creamy in the mouth. Apples and gooseberries return (reminds me a bit of Kidibul, actually), but also other white fruit and maybe even some pineapple. It offers a lot more on the palate than the nose made you expect. Pancakes with syrup. Sugared cornflakes, rhubarb marmalade. And suddenly a host of liquorice and ginger.
The finish is long, sweet and shows a trace of woodsmoke.
This is probably the most complex Blair Athol that I have tasted with a great palate and finish. The nose needs some time. Used to be around 50 EUR, which I consider a steal, but I am not sure it is still available. Thanks, Pieter.