Google A brace of Balvenie

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 1, 2017




Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
A brace of Balvenie
I cannot deny, I like Balvenie. I've noticed that quite of a few of the 1960s/70s examples I've tasted showed extremely well at younger ages (anything from 8 - 15 years) as well as maturing well to more stately ages. Not something that you can say about just any distillery. Lets try a couple of older, more obscure ones today. Sadly I don't have any more recent bottlings to hand to compare just now. I know, shame on me!


Balvenie 20 yo 1972 (46%, First Cask by Direct Wines, Cask #14734) Balvenie 20 yo 1972 (46%, First Cask by Direct Wines, Cask #14734, +/-1992) Direct Wines stock came from Signatory and this was one of the very first bottlings in this often overlooked series. Colour: Oaked chardonnay. Nose: A cornucopia of pollens, wildflowers, resins, fresh honeycomb and beeswax. Just the most beautiful nose that only time and simple wood can create. This feels like one of those whiskies that was just caught in the apex of its maturity. Goes on with greengages, gooseberry, mint julep, a little hessian and notes of aged muscat. A nose that positively 'glows' with freshness and complexity. Perhaps some candles scented with various spices, vanilla pods and a slightly olive oil grassiness. Mouth: More layered and textured notes of honey and a touch of wood spice on arrival. More pollen, lilies, orange rind, cocoa power, buttered white toast. There's a resinous streak as well with assorted cocktail bitters and cinnamon bark, then some light natural vanilla. Gets more fruity and herbal in time with notes of dried rosemary and ripe banana, citrus and wee lick of strawberry. Finish: Long. Full of subtle notes of sap, wax, honey, various green and occasionally tropical fruits and a little brown sugar stickiness. Some cloves as well perhaps. Glorious though! Comments: A great old bottle that has become quite scarce but is worth trying if you get the chance. Beautiful, complex and seductive whisky! SGP: 541 - 92 points.  


Balvenie 1976/1987 (60.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #40.1)

Balvenie 1976/1987 (60.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #40.1) No need to say this is a very early and pretty scarce SMWS bottling of Balvenie, a whisky they haven't bottled since - unless I'm mistaken - 1995. Anyway, quite excited for this one... Colour: White wine. Nose: It's strong and not a little closed at first nosing. However, you do feel a sense of common identity with the 1972. There is some pollen and green fruits and honey, but it is all wrapped up in a bigger waxiness and a more muscular and austere minerality. More slightly fermented notes of hay, sourdough and various cereals and fresh butter. Perhaps a little lemon rind with freshly chopped chives and ground white pepper. Quite a demanding nose this one. Lets bring out our stalwart pal - water:  becomes beautifully waxy and almost Clynelishesque with water. More cereals, more oils, more herbs, more farmyard notes. Citrus, orange blossom, perhaps even a few medical tinctures in the background. Quite a lovely development with water. Mouth: See, this is what I mean, these old younger Balvenies could be quite 'highland' in character. This one is much fatter, oilier and waxier with much more pronounced minerality. Some buttery notes as well along with touches of sage, blossom, saltiness and lemon oil. This is a big, muscular and potent dram. Again, water is probably needed... With water: interestingly the texture becomes almost wider, fatter and more salty with water. This could really be some sort of bastard Clynelish! White fruits, minerals, pebbles and again a tiny touch of something medical or peaty. Finish: Lengthy, fat, plenty of olive oil, grass, dried herbs and lemon rind. A tiny touch of fresh brown bread and some toasted sunflower seeds. Comments: Old Balvenie is terrible and you should definitely never buy it. That is all! SGP: 463 - 91 points.




Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2017

Favourite recent bottling:
Port Ellen 34 yo 1982/2017 (61.7%, Hunter Laing, The Kinship, bourbon cask, 545 bottles) - WF 94

Favourite older bottling:
Port Ellen 21 yo 1976/1998 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection) - WF 93

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Aberlour 'A'bunadh' batch #57 (60.7%, OB, 2016) - WF 88

Favourite malternative:
Port Mourant 10 yo 2005/2016 (55%, Cave Guildive, Guyana) - WF 90






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