A simply sumptuous single barrel whisky from on other than the stalwart Speyside distilleries, Balvenie.
This particular bottling has been drawn from cask number 166, a “traditional oak” barrel. In practice this is a refill American Oak, titled “traditional” because it is the barrel variety that overwhelming houses the majority of whisky in Scotland.
This cask has been allowed to sit for fully 25 years in Balvenie’s warehouses, which sit next to sister distillery Glenfiddich, and in view of the ruins of Balvenie castle. Other this long, slow aging process, the whisky has developed a gloriously complex and deep glissando of flavours.
Drinkers should expect notes of runny honey, warm baking spices, thick vanilla custard, overripe bananas, toasted barley, old, dignified oak. A quite tremendous whisky which demonstrates exactly why Balvenie has the superb reputation it has.
Balvenie’s single barrel range has the respect of drinkers and critics the world over, partly because of the stringent conditions that Balvenie applies to any barrel bottled for this series. The barrels are continually tasted, year by year, by Malt Master David Stewart, to ensure that they meet the quality required.
This whisky is given an enormous boost in both flavour and mouthfeel by being bottled at the higher proof of 47.8% ABV, and without either chill filtration or artificial colouration, allowing the natural intricacies of this dram to shine through.
Less than 300 bottles of this whisky were produced, meaning that supply is extremely limited. As always with Balvenie, this whisky is beautifully presented, with diagrams of the cask featuring prominently on the case.
No matter which type of cask you put Balvenie in, it will gently, elegantly work in harmony.Dave Broom, whisky writer