Archive for the ‘Balvenie’ Category

Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 year old 40%

Tasted: Sept 2002

Slightly smoky aromas of citrus with hints of honey. Dry, somewhat straightforward with a touch of sherry cask sweetness, Rounded, smooth and simple but with a lingering finish.

Balvenie Doublewood 12 year old 43%

Tasted: Feb 2006

Clean, earthy aromas of mentholated fruit, sweet toffee, vanilla and a touch of sherry cask. The palate is light and soft. Maybe one could say it was a tad watery with sweet toffee, sherried fruit and a touch of earth and sweet malt. Easy going, but it does finish rather abruptly and there is quiet a bit of caramel noticeable on the finish.

Balvenie Double Wood 12 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Aug 2013

The aromas are very heavy on the sherry with plenty of dried fruits – raisin and prune with hints of earth. Lightly perfumed with time and displaying a little nutty marzipan beneath. 

The palate again displays plenty of Oloroso sherried dried fruit. Clean and polished with hints of earth and stewed fruit. Quite an intense mouth-watering middle with no shortage of spices. Good length with a little vanilla detectable in the finish along with a touch of chocolate/ coffee.

Balvenie Signature 12 year old 40%

Batch No. 002/ Tasted: Nov 2009

A brilliant, understated nose with a lovely combination of soft floral citrus fruit and sherry wood (dates, walnuts, fruit cake and ginger). Superb complexity with hints of red fruits, liquorice, light honey, tobacco leaf, chocolate malt, Demerara sugar and a late candied orange/ peach note. Superb balance and considerably better than the old double wood.

The palate opens with sweet, sherry laced dried fruit, citrus peel, sugar coated rose petals, walnuts, honey and Demerara sugar. Good grip on the middle as the creamy oak drifts in along with a restrained piquancy from the alcohol. Quite delicate, yet the soft wood tannins and alcohol combine to dry out the finish somewhat. Lovely aftertaste with the dried fruit, liquorice, ginger spices and rose petal perfume lingering.

Balvenie Signature 12 year old 40%

First Fill Bourbon, Refill Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks

Batch 005/ Tasted: Jan 2013

The nose opens with the lightly herbal, fresh Oloroso, followed by some gentle honey, malt and silky, toffee’d oak. Hints of demerara sprinkled barley and floral honey mingle wonderfully with a touch of spice. 

The palate is juicy and lightly spiced with the sherried dried fruit showing first, followed by the creamy, toffee’d oak. Lightly herbal on the middle with a touch of honey and barley. Very long with the American oak coming through and unlike batch 001 it doesn’t dry out the finish. Said finish is still quite fresh, minerally and citrusy. Lovely! 

Balvenie Signature 12 year old 40%

First Fill Bourbon, Refill Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks

Batch 005/ Re-Tasted: Mar 2013 

Talk about bottle variation, this is completely different to last bottle of Batch 005 I tasted.. In this one the aromas are a lot subtler with the lightly creamy American oak dominating, although there is a little input from the sherry cask. Lightly honeyed and herbal with the sherry adding a little spiciness. 

The palate is more like the last bottle, opening with the soft, juicy and quite spicy sherry wood followed by some herbal, slightly youthful spirit and finishing with a touch of honey and subtly creamy American oak.

Balvenie 12 year old Single Barrel 47.8%

First Fill Bourbon Cask 12744

The nose opens with some beautifully fragrant oak vanillins mingling with granity honey, barley and lightly perfumed white fruit. Slightly floral with a lightly spiced musky perfume. The oak begins to come to the fore with some light toffee/ fudgy moments. Wonderfully evocative with a late orange blossom note and a touch of smoke. 

The palate opens fresh, grassy and lightly herbal with a lovely minerality. Luscious, lightly tropical apricot, under ripe banana and unsweetened pineapple follow. The oak is pleasantly held in check by the alcohol and granity notes but it comes through on the finish with a little toffee’d vanilla nuance. Long, supple finish with the herbal honey and granity freshness lingering. 

Water gives the nose a slightly sweeter feel to it and emphasises the smoky/ earthy note. A touch of pepper can also be discerned. The palate is soft and as expected more oak dominated. However the freshness is still there and although, like the nose it has become a little sweeter it still finishes with a lovely granitiness.

The Balvenie 14 year old Caribbean Cask 43%

Bourbon/ Rum Finished 

Tasted: Feb 2013

Slightly high toned but syrupy sweet aromas of the finishing cask show first and basically dominate the proceedings. There is a touch of ripe banana and vanilla but the cask is king as they say! 

The palate is very much like the nose. Loads of sweet, rummy dried fruit, banana and coconut fill the mouth. Fairly straightforward and overly sweet with maybe a suggestion of barley and spice. The alcohol is actually quite piquant and makes the finish feel quite austere, plus as the alcohol has so successful cleansed the palate all it leaves is some bitter wood at the death. 

Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel 50.4%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Oct 2004

A pungent, assertive and dry nose with a hint of malty sweetness amidst the oak vanillins. Rich, mellow yet firm on the palate some honeyed malt and not as much oak as one would have expected. Lovely length with caramel, citrus and a suggestion of pineapple(?) on the finish.

Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel 47.8%

Bourbon cask 7134/ Dist: Apr 1996 Btl: Oct 2011/ Tasted: Dec 2011

A firm but gorgeously fruity nose with more than a nod in the direction of tropicalty (ripe and green banana, guava, apricot), accented by herbal and gristy malt notes. With time it becomes wonderfully fleshy and slightly perfumed. The oak adds a beautiful creamy veneer to the aromas. Seriously good and seriously deep. 

Soft and subtly sweet on the palate. A wonderfully fresh, granity note balances the oak and fleshy fruit. Apricot, banana, honey and malty cereal combine with a twist of citrus, greengage and herbal notes. The piquant alcohol leads into a mouth watering, slightly gristy barley and sawdusty oak laden finish. 

With water the nose is softer and a touch sweeter with a greater emphasis on the fleshy fruit, although some gorgeous, dusty spices have now put in an appearance. On the palate the oak is maybe a tad more prominent giving the palate a lovely milky/ clotted cream dénouement. Some beautiful honeyed moments interplay with the gentle spices and all the time you are aware of the sheer depth of fruit which forms a wonderful backdrop. Excellent length with a distinct banana led finish. Do I like this? Absolutely!

The Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel – Sherry 47.8%

European Sherry Butt 609/ Tasted: Aug 2014

It’s an obvious balsamic first fill Oloroso monster with hints of clove, coriander spice, malt, walnuts and citrus. Impressively deep and clean with dried fruitcake, but as expected no distillery character whatsoever! 

The palate is softly spiced and nutty with rich, dark Oloroso. Pleasantly smooth with plenty of walnut, date, pomegranate, sultana, cigar tobacco, sweet spice and a touch of citrus. Like the nose it is all about the cask and it’s a very clean cask. Very long and spicy with the citrus lingering and the alcohol freshening the finish. An impressive sherry monster.

Balvenie 17 year old ‘Rum Cask’ 43%

Tasted: Feb 2011

A gristy and crunchy nose with plenty of barley and a hint of under ripe banana. The rum cask finish is quite light and delicate, lightly blanketing the depth luscious honey and orange with a gossamer thin veil of sweetness. With time some pure vanilla appears.

The palate is dry and old. Homogonous and flat. After such a beautiful nose the palate is  frankly as dull as dish water – and doesn’t taste a great deal better either! Some bright citrus emerges on the middle but the fruit remains muted and some dusty oak bitters out the finish. Obviously this was just nosed before it was bottled!!!

Balvenie 21 year old Portwood 40%

Tasted: Dec 2012

The nose is crisp and honeyed with a sublime softness. Beautiful  maturity and balance with hints of lightly spicy redcurrant jelly shot through with some lightly earthy spices. The aromas become very rich and chocolaty but the wine finish accents the malt rather than drowning it. 

The palate begins with a softly sugared delivery with chocolate-malt and crisp barley. Delicate notes of lightly syrup coated  plum and  redcurrant and some sublime building spices. Beautifully weighted and wonderfully mature. The mature barley sheen on the middle is sublime and the American oak adds some nutty vanillins. The palate is elegance personified and exceedingly long with a touch of Demerara and soft, crumbly spices serenading the finish. Without doubt this is probably the finest portwood finish malt money can buy!

The Balvenie 30 year old 47.3%

Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: Wonderfully mature aromas display a plethora of liquorice coated wood spices. Very juicy with sun dried apricot, Satsuma and tangerine all played out against a backdrop of beautifully sawdusty oak. Superbly balanced, the citrus notes add freshness and vibrancy, whilst the honey adds a gentle sweetness. Lightly earthy with a touch of clove studded dried orange, aniseed and cardamom.  

Palate: Like the nose it opens with the mature wood notes and spices followed by some wonderfully mature honey coated barley. Slightly incense like on the middle with hints of ginger, cinnamon, clove, dark chocolate, brown sugar and lightly perfumed violets. Heavenly!  

Finish: A fresh, mouth-watering and juicy finish. Exceptionally long with the oak gently bittering adding mocha notes.  

Conclusion: A stunning old Spey, wonderfully mature but the citrus and alcohol give it a fresh edge.

The Balvenie 30 year old 47.3%

Re-Tested: Feb 2013

Nose: A beautifully complex nose which reeks of maturity. Edgy, brittle, lightly honeyed barley mingles with some violety-peat, sawdusty oak, spice, tarred rope, fish oils and barley.  

Palate: Quite oily and full, opening with the gentle honey, mature, sawdusty oak and violet tinged gentle peat. A majestic middle, imbued with the juiciest, dried fruit imaginable. Stunningly deep!  

Finish: Lovely length with hints of heather and lemon in the finish.  

Conclusion: Exceptionally good with loads of complexity and maturity. One couldn’t spit this one out! 

The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 2 50.6%

Tasted: Feb 2012

Sumptuous and luscious sherried fruit mingles with some beautiful oils, demerara flecked malt, raisins, sultanas, sun dried grape and evocative, floral honey. With time hints of vanilla, light coffee and an almost rye like nip appear.  

Succulent, juicy dried grape, liquorice and honey lead the way. As the oils build the Demerara sugar balances. Extremely full in the mouth with a stunning intensity and gentle elegance. With water it shows more maturity. Long with a pleasant nip from the alcohol and a dry, spicy finish. With water there are more earthy notes now.

Balvenie Craftmans Reserve No1 ‘The Cooper’ 59.4%

Dist: 1996 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Aug 2012

Exclusive bottling for Warehouse No 24 members of two European oak sherry butts of 15 year old Single Malt, casks 10142 and 17949

A rich, soft nose of Oloroso dried fruit, liquorice, juicy dates and raisins. Slightly perfumed an floral with a smidge of vanilla and plenty of crumbly spices. It seems to have some maturity [tasted blind] with a late sugared/ sweet orange note along with some earth and a slight medicinal/ camphor note. Stunningly deep and clean.

The palate is luxuriously soft opening with liquorice coated raisins and sultana along with some juicy but bold Oloroso notes. The spices build pleasantly on the middle with a touch of burnt wood and smoke along with hints of treacle and oxidised fruit. Slightly mouth-watering, cask strength? 50%+ abv? [again tasted blind!] with a bitter chocolate coated orange finale and a rum and raisin like after taste. 

Diluted the nose is slightly more perfumed with hints of honey and citrus now the sherry impact is lessened. Still very deep, treacly and malty. The palate displays some lovely, light coffee as well as being gentler and like the nose displaying a more honeyed citrus character. Slightly herbaceous on the middle and relatively tannic on the finish.