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Jurgen’s Whiskyhuis, a Belgian retailer, recently held an open day, presenting an exclusive world premiere: his own bottling of this 25 Year Old Blair Athol. It is a distillery that does not get bottled as a single malt very often (most of it disappears into blends like Bell’s), a fact that contributes largely to the appeal of this release. It was distilled on the 17th of February 1986 (I just acquired my first moped!) and bottled on 20th October 2011.
The nose is very fruity with sultanas, raisins and quite a bit of apricots. Some toffee, red berries and a wonderfully sweet twist from the rum. Nougat, too. This is a very nice nose.
It is very oily and mouthcoating. Feisty, thanks to the high ABV, but perfectly palatable sans aqua. The sweetness of the apricots returns, as do the red berries, but I also get fragrant notes of oranges now. Very softly spiced (white pepper) and quite a bit of liquorice. Towards the end I detect a bitter touch, most likely from the oak.
The finish is longer than anticipated and remains solid.
I confess to not having a lot of experience with Blair Athol. In fact, this is only the second one I tried after the semi-official 12 Year Old I tasted in Scotland. But this is truly good, especially on the nose. Only available in Belgium for approximately 80 EUR, which is a good price for a malt this is a quarter of a century old.