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Blair Athol 1995, The First Edition Single Cask

Legally good

6 888

@Robert99Review by @Robert99

11th May 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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Robert99 commented

Just want to say that my score is based on the hypothesis that the sulfur will stay at the level of my second poor.

5 years ago 0

cricklewood commented

@Robert99 Nice review and for taking one for the team as I think a few members have bought this bottle but haven't opened it yet.

Based on your tasting notes I am very much looking forward to trying this, milk chocolate, cedar, yeast/rising pastry like notes. That sounds a little like Arran 14 just off the top of my head, although I am by no means saying it is the same.

Is this the first whisky from Blair Athol you've tried? I know it's one of those Diageo red-headed stepchild distilleries, like Benrinnes or Mortlach (before they gave it the Cinderella treatment) that is supposed to brings character to their blends. From your first impressions does it present as it's age or a bit younger, your point of comparison was Glenfarclas 15 for example.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

Robert99 commented

@cricklewood It is the rasberry note that makes me think of GF 15, that and the sulfur (that I had more in the 105). When I compare it to the Macallan Ed., or the GF, the wood notes are way rounder in the BA; Mac has blond oak, GF has dark oak and BA has Cedar wood. On the fruits side, it is also closer to GF as I have red fruits (that I didn't mention) and darker fruits. For example, GF and BA would have Thompson raisins where Mac Ed. would have Sultana raisins.

The cedar wood note is for me a mark of its age. The mellow spices are an other indication of its age. The spices and the Cedar wood form a whole, so don't expect cedar greens. It is a calm one, with well integrated flavors, but the high ABV prevents it from being bland therefore a dram to get at the end of the night next to the fire place in good company.

Depending on the sulfur note evolution, this one could go up to the low 90' or down to the low 80'.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

Astroke commented

@Robert99 Makes me want to break down and open my bottle,but with so many Cask Strength Sherried Scotches open I will wait a little longer. Nice review.

5 years ago 0

Robert99 commented

@Astroke Maybe you should have an all sherry tasting session! smiley

5 years ago 0

Astroke commented

@Robert99 I think I did that last night :)

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Robert99 - Thanks for the review! Sounds like one I'd like.

Have you tried the 12 Flora and Fauna? Just wondering as I have an unopened and untasted bottle and am curious if it's similar. My feeling (going off reviews and descriptions) is something in the 'farclas 15 direction.

5 years ago 0

Robert99 commented

@RianC Unfortunately I have never seen a Flora and Fauna in Quebec.

5 years ago 0

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