Posted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:35 pm Post subject: Highlands visit - Balblair, Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Glen Ord
Just back from a four day trip to Inverness - sadly I wasn't in charge of planning the holiday, but I did manage to squeeze in a few distillery visits on the way! The only tour I planned was at Tomatin, but luckily I persuaded one of our group to get away from his wife for a day and drive us up to Balblair.
We didn't do a tour at Balblair - my no. 1 priority was to sample some bottles and see what cask they had at the distillery shop, and I wasn't disappointed. The staff in the (no-frills but well-stocked) shop were very knowledgeable and clearly passionate about Balblair, and we ended up chatting for a long time. What did we try - well, there were a couple of 2004s (from 1 litre bottles), one bourbon matured, the other sherry. The sherry was good but the bourbon one was very, very good indeed, and would've bought it on the spot (very good price for a litre bottle, around £50-55 I think) if it wasn't for the single cask - a first-fill bourbon from 2006.
After trying a sample my reaction was more or less 'shut up and take my money' - a 12 year-old first-fill bourbon single cask Balblair (at 55.6% ABV) is close to my idea of perfection. What else - oh yes, a stunning 1991 sherry finished Balblair, but I wanted to save some money for Tomatin the following day. And we got to try some new make, which was surprisingly sweet and fruity.
After Balblair, we stopped at every distillery we could find on the drive back to Inverness - so Glenmorangie, Dalmore and Glen Ord. Not much to report there - the feeling at both Glenmorangie and Dalmore was more corporate and there was none of the intimate, friendly welcome we got at Balblair. In both cases when I asked if they have anything open for sampling we were just handed a tasting menu. Never mind, at least the walk around Glenmorangie was very pleasant. Oh, and no distillery exclusives either at Glenmorangie or Dalmore.
As for Glen Ord, we took a wrong turn and got lost so we didn't arrive before they closed Still, there are worse places to get lost than the Scottish highlands! Overall, a big success - no tours (there was nothing special on offer anyway) but a great bottle your own at Balblair, we were sent back with lots of delicious samples, and it was a very nice leisurely drive back to Inverness via all the other distilleries.
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