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Blair Athol The First Edition is a whisky bottle by Edition Spirits Ltd. Here is what I found on their site: Edition Spirits is an independent whisky bottling business owned by Andrew and Scott Laing, the sons of Hunter Laing director and former Douglas Laing founder Stewart Laing. It has released over 150 bottlings of single cask whiskies since its creation in 2010, all bottled at cask strength and released under the First Editions series. Scott and Andrew joined their father Stewart at Hunter Laing when he split from Douglas Laing in 2013. Edition Spirits became an operational arm of Hunter Laing and the First Editions series was moved across to join its portfolio. Let me tell you that I really like the Hunter’s brothers approach: single cask and cask strenght is the way to go to please the serious whisky aficionado.
This Blair Athol is therefore a single cask and cask strenght at 53,4% abv. Distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2017, it is 21 years old. I will review this whisky from my notes from a freshly opened botlle from a week ago and from tonight impression.
Freshly opened At the beginning, sulfur and brown sugar. Then orange, vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate, mint, coriander seed (the lemony kind) and after a while oak and mellow spices.
Tonight No sulfur at the beginning but soft spices with cedar instead of oak, mint and vanilla. Almost nothing vegetal.
Freshly opened Sweet, orange essence, Leather and leather cleanser, more herbs maybe sage with coriander seeds, the nose is now more spicy and lemony, some yeast like croissant dough. Then the comeback of the orange essence.
Tonight Sweet, sugary, orange with milk chocolate, some rasberry syrup with a good acidity and a bit of yeast dough. Still, cedar wood and, mellow spices are dominating before a light su;fur is manifesting itself giving kind of a licorice taste. In a less vinous and less alcohol driven style it reminds me of some of the best Farclas 15 for its red fruits, wood and spices.
Freshly opened The yeast and the orange essence are present with mint then I have some brown sugar melting and the leather with the cleanser are showing themselves in the background.
Tonight The spices, the cedar with the licorice and the rasberry syrup are lingering, with time the orange and milk chocolate are whispering that they are still there.
Conclusion The freshly opened dram was more complex with more herbs while tonight dram was more balance and wood spices oriented. The big difference remains the quantity of sulfur detected. Freshly opened, the sulfur was obvious and disturbing even if it didn’t make the whisky horrible. Tonight the sulfur was showing from time to time and mainly after half an hour in the glass. This could evolve to be very good if the sulfur keeps setting back. Tonight, the sulfur is a bit more present on the nose than in Macallan Edition no2, which I am drinking now for the sole purpose of comparing the levels of sulfur but it is kind of better integrated in the low notes of the palate of the BA. The Blair Athol is less vibrant than the Macallan with less highnotes and more low notes but I really like it in its end of the night next to the fire place style.