Whisky Review: SMWS 70.40 Balblair 1989 30 Years Old “Eloquent Silence”

Style: Sweet and Elegant

A tranquilizing and delicious entrance – Whipped cream, peach tart and poached pears aligned wonderfully together, stunning aroma. Slight tartness and spearmint on the flip side to complement the sweetness. Proceeding to layers of vanilla sugar, a bit ester-y as well, tropical fruits, pineapples and probably some jack fruits. Apple cider, red chillies, sawdust and the thinnest slice of ginger fizzling at the bottom. Very nice.

Similar theme continues on the palate, bursts of nectarines, poached pears, peach tarts and chocolate eclairs blossoming elegantly. A touch of glazed kumquat, followed by vanilla bean ice cream and ginger shreds. More of the grassy and floral side of the spirit emerge with a warming glow in the middle. Sunflower oil dripping gently onto barley sugar, finish with a subtle tail of taro and oak tannins.

More glazed pears, kumquat lightly brushed with oaky water. Sweet and slightly earthy.

Sometimes SMWS can be quite innovative with naming their bottles, but in this case, I think “Eloquent Silence” is a very accurate description here. The expression is unfolding in such an expressive but gentle fashion without losing any power. Personally I think Balblair is a rather spicy make, but probably with thirty years of maturation, the distillate of Balblair reaches its peak and reveals its true greatness – Magically sweet, balanced and elegant. Top dram.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[50.2%| Independent Bottling| 1989 Distilled| 2020 Bottled| Single Cask| Cask Strength| 174 Bottles| Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel **]


Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Balblair 18 Years Old Distilled 1964

[40%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1964・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Limited Release]


There is the old school funk, meaty, leathery and note reminiscent of gourmet dark soy sauce.  Dark chocolate coated liquor soaked cherries oozing out in time, and as time continues to pass on, buttery toffee seeps out alongside the wood creaminess and a grassy note settles in.

Palate & Finish:

A good old juicy number with some depth, cherries layered with creamy vanilla which in turn has layers of chocolate sponge cake.  The youthful brightness of berries add to the top note as a waxy layer settles onto the bottom.

The delivery reverts to a soft brush of strawberry and blueberry jam in the finish.


The sheer layering of this dram is like a world building exercise of appealing flavours, flavours that are quite unlike of what I previously understood Balblair to be known for.

Incredible and immensely enjoyable.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]