Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Welcome to Part 2 of this week’s focus on Lady of the Glen, an independent bottler of fine Scotch whiskies. Lady of the Glen source casks from distilleries around Scotland and bottle them, often putting their own creative spin on things by transferring the spirit to a finishing cask. The subject of today’s review, however, spent the entirety of its life in a 1st fill bourbon hogshead.
The whisky was produced at Blair Athol Distillery in Perthshire. Distilled in 2014, it was bottled in February 2023 at 58.6% abv.
Blair Athol is a Diageo distillery that stands on the outskirts of Pitlochry in central Scotland. Much of the whisky produced goes into blends (notably Bell’s) and single malt bottlings are rare. Thankfully, indies like Lady of the Glen occasionally come across the odd cask and make them available to enjoy at full cask strength.
For part 1 of this Lady of the Glen series: visit here
Lady of the Glen Blair Athol 8-year-old
Smell: First off, I’m getting straw, dry grass and hay bales… A really malty character. Then comes honey and biscuit. Vanilla. Caramel. Cinnamon powder. There’s a slight wood solvent note and even a touch of rum and raisin. Some light apple and pear notes underneath.
Taste: Big sweet bourbon arrival. Lots of caramel and vanilla. Biscuit. Moving into some warming oak spice. A more powerful oakiness creeps in to provide some depth as it reaches the back of the palate. Malty, dry and a little woody on the finish.
Thoughts: Lovely mouthfeel on this dram – it feels like you can chew on it. That oiliness makes it feel particularly luxurious and despite the relatively strong abv, there isn’t an abundance of heat. There’s a little spice, sure, but it’s kept in check. I really like the sensation of oak throughout the experience as well. The cask plays a dominant role but there’s a malty, fruity spirit in there that refuses to be overpowered. Fully flavoured, mouth-coating and delicious. Everything I want from a first-fill bourbon cask.
Price: £62. Even at its relatively young 8-year age statement, this looks like a bit of a bargain. Good price for a very enjoyable single cask.
For more on Lady of the Glen: https://www.ladyoftheglen.com/