Google Today Balvenie vs Burnside

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

August 22, 2023



WF's Summer Duets
Today Balvenie vs. Burnside (once more)

First an earlier young OB, then a recent old IB from the teaspooning gang's.



Balvenie 12 yo 'Signature Batch 4' (43%, OB, 2011)

Balvenie 12 yo 'Signature Batch 4' (43%, OB, 2011) Three stars and a half
The penultimate inception of a series done to celebrate Master Distiller Dave Stewart's 45 years in the industry (after he had left Eurythmics – joking). Batch 1, which we had tried in 2008, had been excellent (WF 88). This batch 4 was matured in sherry butts, first-fill bourbon barrels and refill bourbon barrels and used to come both at 40% and 43% vol. Colour: gold. Nose: it's a very mirabelle-y, quince-y, vanilla-y Balvenie. These are the Balvenies we tend to prefer, even if this one may also display a little too much oak-spiciness (ginger, turmeric). Mouth: same impressions, word for word. Quinces, mirabelles, turmeric, ginger, custard. This spicy oakiness feels a little bizarre, a little out-of-place, but the rest is rather lovable. Lovely blood oranges too, drop of bone-dry fino sherry, but not a magnum of Tio Pepe... Finish: rather long, rather spicier. A lot of pickled ginger, sushi-style, some coriander leaves too. Comments: those woody spices seemed a bit excessive to me, but apart from that, it's still a good Balvenie, for sure. And twelve years have passed... and the blood oranges were nice.

SGP:561 - 84 points.

Burnside 30 yo 1989 (51.2%, Artful Dodger, blended malt, refill bourbon barrel, cask #4555, 317 bottles)

Burnside 30 yo 1989 (51.2%, Artful Dodger Whisky Collective, blended malt, refill bourbon barrel, cask #4555, 317 bottles) Five stars
Bottled three years ago but I believe it came out pretty recently. This is supposed to be Balvenie 'teaspooned' with other makes from William Grant's, well probably not Ladyburn as it says 'Speyside'. With some 30 years old Glenfiddich? Mmm… Colour: white wine. Nose: purity first. The aforementioned quinces and mirabelles, white marshmallows, yellow melons, elderflowers, acacia honey, greengages… It is, indeed, epitomically 'un-sherried Balvenie'. With water: some meringue, some putty and some marzipan, a bit of pinewood, white nougat, custard, balsa wood… Mouth (neat): typical old Balvenie. More quinces and plums, more acacia and other white flowers, lively plums, and just a hint of sour wood that must have come with old age. With water: it takes water well, getting fruitier, with more sweets, syrups and liqueurs. Prickly pears, perhaps, poppies, geranium, even raspberry candies, some Jell-O… I quite adore this childlike aspect. Finish: medium, sweet, on cotton candy, rhubarb jam… All excellent. Comments: the wood has never managed to have the last word, it's remained miraculously fresh and lively all along. One of the best recent Balvenie (like) malts if you ask me. No corners were cut.
SGP:641 - 90 points.

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







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