It looks like Elements, 10, 16 and 26 have disapeared, I have no idea about the older versions... what is a little annoying is the way the prices have gone up. A lot!
I had the opportunity to sample the 1997 and 1989 expressions this week and I was impressed. The packaging is good, distinctive but restrained enough, and the bottles are really nice. Okay, enough about the outside, what about the whiskies?
Sweetshop flavours, like old fashioned sweetshops with barley sugars and pineapple chunks. The 1997 benefitted from a drop of water, it took away a touch of spirit which wasn't on the nose but was there on the palate.
Overall I preferred the 1989, so I bought a bottle
I like the older expressions and quite fancy the 79. If it falls between the previous release of a 26yo and fabled 38yo I'll be very happy.
Very striking packaging and marketing, and Karen Walker (their marketing bod) gave an enthusiastic walkthrough of the pictures on the boxes, and the history behind the scroll work on the bottles etc. However this had (IMHO) more prominence than the whisky itself!
What struck me the most was speaking to Stuart Harvey afterwards at the stand, and essentially the product in a "1997" bottle will be the same as a "10 YO" in terms of taste characteristics. It just gives him a little more flexibility in the selection of casks i.e. you can use a 9YO cask in a 1997!
However prices are another thing, the 1997 seems to retail for pennies different to the older 16YO, but has spent 6 years less growing.
I like Balblair (a goodly amount), but sadly at over £25 a bottle retail price will nudge it outside of my criteria for an everyday drinking whisky! Particularly as I know heart of hearts that the extra money is paying for the packaging, fancy bottles, rather than supporting the likes of Stuart and John that make all the magic happen under the cork!
I posted something similar in another forum.
Old 16yo £30.00
Old 26yo £52.50
New 1997 (10yo) £28.00
New 1989 (18yo) £40.00
New 1979 (28yo) £85.00
So an extra 2years on the old 16yo is a 33% mark up
and an extra 2years on the old 26yo is around 60% mark up
SO the nice packaging is expensive is it..... sorry I won't be getting any of the new bottling while the old are still available.
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