Scotch whisky group Inver House Distillers has relaunched its Balblair single malt into a "vintage-led" whisky.

Inver House, which is owned by brewing and distilling group Thai Beverage, today (27 February) unveiled the new-look Balblair. The whisky will initially be sold in three vintages - 1997, 1989 and 1979.

Malcolm Leask, sales and marketing director at Inver House, said the rebranding of Balblair comes when spirits companies are looking to "premiumise" their portfolios. He said Balblair would be "brought to life" with the three vintages.

"Vintages give consumers an idea of where fine wines and single malts come from and an understanding that where they are produced can affect the way the taste," Leask told just-drinks.

Balblair joins The Glenrothes in the vintage single malt category, which remains a niche segment largely for whisky aficionados.

However, Inver House is to plough "a six-figure" sum into promoting the all-new Balblair, which is the company's biggest-ever launch for a single malt whisky.

Leask acknowledged that vintage whiskies are "a very niche slice of the single malts cake". However, he said the company was more interested in driving the brand's sales rather than volumes.

He added: "Balblair has always had an underground following. Our goal is to create a brand that appeals to consumers on a number of levels."

Leask declined to reveal Balblair's case sales but said the brand is Inver House's third-largest single malt behind flagship brand Old Pulteney.