Lucie Loves... Drink // #Blogged | Balblair Whisky… #TimedtoPerfection


With Father’s Day imminent it was only right that I share my recent Balblair experience, from a daughter’s perspective of course.

I turn up at 6:30pm on the dot at Embankment Pier as requested, and wonder what lies in store for us this evening. I don’t know very much about Balblair, except that it’s a Highland single malt Scotch whisky.

And not long later, as the whisky begins to warm up my bones, I smile and think of all the truly incredible things that this lusciously green British Isle bestows upon us.

I experience the wonders of Scotch whisky, the taste of it upon my tongue, stirring up a sense of nostalgia within me. We were each given an extra large sea coat and life jacket, and stepped aboard the waiting speedboat. This was to be a night of firsts! 

London’s greatest landmarks streaked past, accompanied by a running commentary from our fantastic guide, who regaled us with stories of London’s 2000 year history. It made me look at my new adopted home, at this amazing city, with saucer-wide eyes full of wonder. 

Balblair Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, gave us an insight into the measured, precise process that goes into creating their whiskies. Over the course of the evening, three of their finest Vintages were handed to us for our delectation. 

I wondered whether whisky was still seen as a predominantly male beverage. John explained that, in Europe, there are far more female whisky drinkers than anywhere else in the world – me being one of them. I tend to drink more Bourbon than whisky, so was keen to see how I would find Scotch.

Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine… 

The first we tried was the Vintage 1999, which I sipped aboard the speedboat, clutching the rail in front of me with one hand and my leather-encased hip flask of Scotch in the other. The wind whipped through my hair as our small vessel bounced along the Thames at 35 knots. I’d definitely recommend taking a London Rib Voyages trip along the Thames. It was exhilarating!

  • Vintage 1999 Highland single malt Scotch whisky - copper bronze in appearance. On the nose there are signature Balblair aromas: floral and fragrant punctuated with green apples, citrus fruits and vanilla. The American oak, ex-bourbon barrels and Spanish oak, ex-sherry butts used in maturation impart a rich spiciness and notes of leather, honey and chocolate. On the palate honey and vanilla notes combine with a rich spiciness and sweet toffee, resulting in a full-bodied Vintage. The long lasting, smooth finish is sweet yet spicy. Exclusive to travel retail.

Nineties child…

Big Ben tolls, the clock strikes eight. Our Thames adventure was over. We headed to our second stop of the evening, the London Eye and boarded our private capsule, tucking into a selection of canapés to accompany the final two Vintages of the evening. It was a pretty spectacular evening!

  • Vintage 1990 Highland single malt Scotch whisky - deep copper in appearance with hints of sparkling amber. Matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks and Spanish oak ex-sherry butts, the aroma is spicy yet sweet and is punctuated with notes of raisins, toffee and honey. Hints of vanilla, chocolate and citrus fruits. On the palate it is full bodied; sweet and spicy in character with hints of honey, raisins and zesty fruits. The finish is smooth and long lasting.

A twinkle in the eye…

As the evening wound to a close we tried our third Vintage. The 1983. There was something sweeter about this one. Perhaps it was the age or the fact that we’d been warmed up with two other tipples. Either way, it’s a beautiful whisky and would make for a very impressive gift for that special someone.

  • Vintage 1983 Highland single malt Scotch whisky - rich golden appearance. On the nose there are warm aromas of butterscotch, toffee and vanilla that come from the long years of maturation in American oak ex-bourbon barrels. Citrus fruits can also be detected in the aroma adding to the complexity of the exceptional Vintage. On the palate it is sweet and spicy; fresh fruits and honey combine to create a long, warming and full-bodied finish.

Shop Balblair at The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt. Find out more at

Photography © Lucie Kerley