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

April 12, 2018


Balvenie today

As it says…

Balvenie 15 yo ‘Single Barrel Sherry Cask’ (47.8%, OB, cask #2052, +/-2018?)

Balvenie 15 yo ‘Single Barrel Sherry Cask’ (47.8%, OB, cask #2052, +/-2018?) Three stars
They say ‘this bottle is one of no more than 800 drawn from a single cask’. That’s more than a fair amount from a ‘single barrel’, or do they mean ‘single butt’? Colour: full gold. Nose: whiffs of pencil shavings – which suggest a newish seasoned cask – and then chocolate, with some rather spicy pumpernickel and fruitcake. Cloves, Vicks, ginger, flints, walnuts, and more wood shavings. I don’t think this is a good old butt that’s been kept for fifteen years, just between us. Mouth: indeed, notes of spicy new oak, caraway, ginger, turmeric, then oranges, more pumpernickel, rye, and more chocolaty walnuts. Finish: long, with something Asian. The spice combo, I guess. Comments: some very well made modern malt whisky. Feels like some ‘work’ has been done on it, it’s probably not only about time.
SGP:451 - 82 points.

Balvenie 14 yo 2002 ‘Peat Week’ (48.3%, OB, American oak, 2017)

Balvenie 14 yo 2002 ‘Peat Week’ (48.3%, OB, American oak, 2017) Four stars
Indeed they make proper peated whisky at Balvenie, one week per year. So this is not supposed to be some traditional Balvenie that’s been kept or finished/flavoured in some ex-peater wood. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s very soft peat and frankly, it doesn’t feel like if it was all peated malt in the first place. Notes of tinned pineapples, mirabelles (which is very Balvenie in my book), acacia honey, coconut, and just ‘wee whiffs’ of peat smoke. Mouth: pretty good. Smoked pineapples, smoked plums, smoked gooseberries, and cider apples. Behind that, some green marzipan and quite a few tangerines. Notes of hay wine – ever tried that? Finish: medium, mildly peaty, with more mangos. Ashier aftertaste. Comments: many peaters from Speyside have been a little ‘meh’ in my book, but I have to say that I enjoyed this one, for it tasted less ‘skinny’ than others. And better balanced.
SGP:554 - 85 points.

And so there’s that teaspooned B******e…

Burnside 1991/2018 (50.3%, Caora, refill barrel, cask #7407, 233 bottles) Four stars
So on the papers, this is a blended malt and not a single. Colour: pale gold. Nose: full Balvenie-ness, with many plums, fresh hazelnuts and walnuts, touches of apricots, and quite some fresh cut grass. This one’s totally natural. With water: liquorice allsorts and bubblegum in full swing. Coconut balls. Mouth (neat): lovely. Pure, with some marshmallows, a wee fermentary side (or would that be muesli?) and tons of mirabelles. I’m a sucker for mirabelles. This is extremely and plainly Balvenie-y. With water: perfect. Reminds me of those famed 1970s. Finish: perfect plums, a spoonful of all-flower honey, and the expected apricoty touch. Comments: it’s a very controversial issue, but I’ll say it again, aren’t the indies becoming the real guardians of the distilleries’ styles? While the distillers are rather becoming mad carpenters (and cooks)? PS, let's keep listening to R.L. Burnside!
SGP:541 - 87 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Balvenie we've tasted so far






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