Another great batch of singles cask releases from Wemyss – this time we are looking at Autumn Berries, a rather fine 26 year old Blair Athol from 1986 bottled at 46%. Sharon and I (Jon) were on holiday a couple of weeks ago so we decided to take this bottle with us to review while we were in the Lake District – Keswick to be precise! The forecast for the Sunday was good, so inspired by Wainwright we left Keswick and headed for the nearby fells. On a glorious day (and I mean glorious – this was October sunbathing weather at its best – no wind and plenty of sun) we headed over Walla Crag and onto Bleaberry Fell above Derwent Water. Being a canny, prepared outdoors sort of guy, I had carefully packed my bottle of Blair Athol and Glenkeir glass and so as we had lunch at the top we enjoyed a dram – possibly the finest place outside of the Highlands to enjoy this whisky.
Autumn Berries [Blair Athol 1986] Bleaberry Fell Tasting
It was a delight to taste this on the fells overlooking the lake with the sun beating down. The whisky has a real outdoor character and matched the surroundings well. Sharon really enjoyed it too, enjoying the robust fruity nature of the whisky. A cracking dram and a memory that will live long in the mind.
Nose: Very fresh with bags of orange peel and dried mixed fruit. Apricot came through in lovely waves upon second nosing
Palate: Extremely warming, even with the sun beaming down on us before we were hit by mulled wine and rich red berries
Finish: Long, very long. Full of raspberry conserve and rich vanilla muller yogurt
We managed to save a reasonable amount of the sample to taste in the evening, thinking it would make an interesting comparison to the al fresco tasting earlier in the day. So as the sun set over Keswick, we whacked the heating up and settled down for an evening dram.
Autumn Berries [Blair Athol 1986] Keswick Living Room Tasting
Nose: Again fruity to begin with but this time we were hit by the more citrus note of lime peel and old fashioned Victorian lemonade before the orange peel came through strongly again, this time slightly peppered
Palate: Lovely rich and sweet notes; some fresh homemade cranberry sauce and cardamon seeds before the sweetness came again
Finish: Somewhat heavier and more robust indoors, giving way to delicate floralness right at the death
I have vivid memories of visiting Blair Athol as a child, and it being on of my dad’s favourite whiskies. He’d have loved this too so it seems that I am going to have to find some more for my next visit home… Lovely whisky, great to taste it in two different surroundings… feeling a bit bad that I drank it all… Lets hope there’s some of the 268 bottles left.