Balvenie has become a recent tipple of choice for me. As you can imagine from the photo above, this was a delightful evening. Soon-to-be Mrs Cask Blog probably regretted the very kind gift of getting me these three drams because I decided that evening (while we watched a movie) was a great time to do the tasting! I finally got an admission from my better half that not all whisky smells the same off the back of these three drams so I call that a success.
The Balvenie distillery was built in 1982 and started production 1 May 1983. Despite expansions over the years and increases in production it is still a Distillery that prides itself upon heritage and tradition. They malt their own barley, they employ Coopers and Coppersmiths and grow their own barley on their 1000 acre farm which overlooks the distillery! I had tried the Caribbean Cask before (see here) but this was the first time I had tried the 12 or the 17 and, I must say, I was very impressed. Typically Speyside with the sweetness you would expect with a good helping of spice that keeps things interesting throughout.
The Balvenie Double wood 17 Years Old
Appearance: Burnished/Deep Amber
Nose: The sweetness comes through as caramel and Manuka honey with some tropical fruit notes coming through as it opens up; white peppery spice with oaky hint; slightly 'dusty' - brought a library to mind.
Palate: Honey and treacle sweetness develops into a spicy tingle towards the back of the palate; paprika style tingle; When I worked through the others and made it back to the 17 I got a delightful vanilla ice-cream note.
Finish: Relatively short but very good. Honeyed sweetness coats the palate and compliments a silky mouthfeel.
The Balvenie Double wood 12 Years Old
Appearance: Burnished/Deep Amber
Nose: Very Oaky; rougher than the 17 but not in a bad way; I got occasional sherbet notes; more spice than the 17 which came through as cinnamon; sweetness still comes through as honey behind the spice
Palate: Sweetness in the form of honey develops when the spice dissolves away; vanilla still there but more muted; the spice upfront is sharp and provides a pleasing contrast to the sweet notes - the transition between the two is seamless.
Finish: Long oaky spice with a hint of sweetness peeking through from time to time.
The Balvenie Caribbean Rum Cask 14 Years Old
Appearance: Edging towards mahogany
Nose: Cinnamon spice gives way to demerara sweetness; beautifully rich - a phenomenal marriage of sweetness and spice; citric orange comes through with oak and vanilla taking a back seat.
Palate: Fruity sweet - like a succulent exotic fruit salad; an oily mouthfeel with the vanilla punching through unexpectedly; spice is present but less pronounced than expected from the nose.
Finish: Long and sweet; tannic dry towards the back of the palate after a succulent beginning.
Not a bad dram in the pack, but my favourite has to be the rum cask. There is something different about it that just really clicked with me. It reminded me of the Laphroaig 15 in the tropical notes that I don't come across too often but really enjoy!
The Cask Blog is now an affiliate with our friends at Master of Malt. If you want to buy great whisk(e)y and support the Blog, without paying a penny extra, I'd appreciate if you would click through one of the following links to let them know I sent you -
The Balvenie Double wood 17 Years Old - https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/balvenie/balvenie-17-year-old-doublewood-whisky/?srh=1
The Balvenie Double wood 12 Years Old - https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/balvenie/balvenie-doublewood-12-year-old-whisky/?srh=1
The Balvenie Caribbean Cask - https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/balvenie/balvenie-14-year-old-caribbean-cask-whisky/?srh=1