Blair Athol 15 (The Manager’s Dram 1996) Review

This is a 15 year sherried Blair Athol that was bottled in 1996 as part of the Manager’s Dram line. It was bottled at 59.4% ABV.

Nose: Super thick sherry up front with gunflint and wet slate notes – stone ground mustard and muddled fruits.

Palate: Meaty sherry up front before an overpowering damp, musty cardboard takes over. It’s hard to describe how strong the cardboard taste is, but it’s quite unpleasant. It’s not an uncommon note (especially in dusty bourbons), but this is a pretty unbearable level for me.

Finish: The musty cardboard dominates here too with only a hint of sherry and pepper in the background.

Rating: 65/100 – If there is such a thing as corked whisky, this is surely the best example of it I’ve encountered. Imagine sucking on a piece of a damp cardboard box that’s been sitting for years in an unfinished basement after pouring some sherry on it. The nose was fairly nice however which was its only redeeming quality.

Value for the money: Don’t even want to look at what this goes for – just don’t buy it. It could just be that the bottle I tried it from was bad, but I wouldn’t want to risk it.

 

Blair Athol 25 (Signatory Vintage K&L Selection Cask 6923) Review

This is a 25 year Blair Athol that was selected by K&L Wines. It was matured in a sherry butt and bottled at 61.2% ABV.

Nose: Rich sherry, green grapes, slightly musty, charcoal, tangy and savory barbecue sauce notes.

Palate: Raisins and hay up front with old weathered oak coming in behind that. Mushrooms, quite earthy and herbal sherry all around.

Finish: Sherry lingers with old oak and herbal notes – dry but long.

Rating: 88/100 – Surprised to see such high ABV in a 25 year malt.

Value for the money: This retailed for $150 which I think is a fair price given the quality and age of the malt.