The current buzz in scotch whisky is the new pricing structure of a particular expression of Aberlour. It seems to me another company has managed to work out new pricing models for their whiskies but got it under the radar. The way way they did this was two fold. Part 1 was to rebrand with new series, new packaging and new whisky. Part 2 was to be less popular than a well known sherry bomb which to be fair wasn’t a conscious decision on their part.
The Discovery series is the new entry level series of single malt, small batch scotch whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail which used to be the Connoisseur’s Choice range which still exists in a new packaging but the whiskies are slightly older and have more interesting wood casks in their recipe. All of which equals a slightly higher price than before. Where before a bottle would generally be under £50 it is now north of that number by a suitable margin. That margin being in place because all the new Discovery bottles will RRP at £49.95 in the UK.
The Balblair container is green and that is meant to signify that this bottle is in the ex-bourbon flavour profile. The discovery series has three groups: bourbon, sherry and smoky which is slightly confused. The first two names are types of drink and the final one is an adjective to describe lots of different things. Anyway its green and bourbon-y apparently. Bottled with a natural presentation and 43% ABV which is less than the old entry level G&M bottles which were 46%. Like I have already said it is available now just under £50.
Colour – white wine
Nose – mmm lots of bright fresh fruit notes. Pears and apples for sure but then also some herbs and parties.
Palate – Sharpers here than I expected given the soft fruit nose. The development leads in a bitter and citric fruit rind area. This is Balblair stripped back to the spirit character and softened with a lower alcohol strength.
Finish – A touch of honey and vanilla. More of herbs and vegetation from the nose and some floral notes of summer flowers.
This is very spirit led which is soft and gently on approach. I can understand making solid whiskies which are easy to access for the kind of drinker who drinks whisky irregularly or sticks to certain types/brands. There is nothing to fear here however the idea of sticking “bourbon” on the labelling really should only apply if the cask influence is much more apparent.
A cool one to try though if you like the official Balblair’s and want to check out the underlying spirit character rather than some of the more heavily cask influenced older bottlings they do in their official line up.