Blair Athol (Bell’s)

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Type: Highland

Known for: being home to the Bell’s blend

And: being a sweet surprise on its own


Blair Athol distillery, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5LY, 01796 482003


Welcome to the burn of the otter. Not as weird as it sounds because this, according to the wise men at the distillery, is what Blair Athol means. See, you learn something new every day.

What Blair Athol is really about however, is Bell’s, the UK’s monumentally popular blend and a whisky that can be found nestling happily in drinks cabinets across the land. Rightly so because as far as everyday whiskies go, it’s a fine drop, and as all blends now require a home for whisky-savvy punters increasingly seeking providence in their drams, Bell’s has taken over Blair Athol, claiming it’s the whisky “at the heart of the Bell’s blend”.

But Blair Athol is just one of around 35 whiskies swirling around inside your bottle of Bell’s and as one distillery worker explained counts for, “about one per cent” of the finished product. Not much of a heart then. More of a toe really, or perhaps an eyelid.

But we digress. The flip side of all this is Blair Athol is maintained alongside its famous Bell’s sibling where otherwise it may have fallen off the distillery map and thank heavens it hasn’t because it’s a sweet Highland cracker (all sherry matured) that single malt afficianados can wallow in, while those discovering Blair Athol having had their curiosity pricked by a Bell’s or two will find it a fine door opener into the wider world of whisky.

Finally it should be noted that despite our most diligent search of the distillery and its surroundings, we found absolutely no otters anywhere.

Buy Bell’s Scotch whisky from:

The Whisky Exchange

Master of Malt

Whisky Online (more rare and limited editions here than you can shake a stick at)

Buy Blair Athol Scotch whisky from:

Master of Malt

The Whisky Exchange

Tasting notes:

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