Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon First Fill
Added coloring: No
Owner: William Grant & Sons
Average price: € 82.00
Official website: www.thebalvenie.com
For some time now, The Balvenie, the distillery in bustling Dufftown, has been producing, once a year, a single cask edition of its two historic bottlings, the 12 and 15 year old, in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry respectively.
As always in these cases, the result is a whisky that is similar yet different to what we are used to, which is ‘tamed’ to make it uniform over time, while the individual casks, as is their nature, express a more original essence.
The one featured in this article is the 2020 edition, from barrel 15272, bottled au naturel (as opposed to the common version), at an alcohol content of 47.8%, curiously constant each year.
Light gold in the glass.
The nose is rather soft and delicate, with herbaceous and floral veins on a background of vanilla, custard, baked apple, lemon drizzle. Tea leaves. Simple and gentle.
A flash of white pepper awakens the palate, which is revealed to be spicier than on the nose with a good contribution of ginger and cinnamon, flowing creamy on tones that are sweet of vanilla and ripe yellow fruit (also banana and pear), but with an exponential growth of lemon along with a basic bitter streak, at times cumbersome, that lashes the flavors on which anise, dried fruit and a certain roughness of the wood are grafted.
The finish is quite long and dry, with nuts, ginger, wood, baked apple and lemon.
If on the nose you are reassured by the typical composure of the distillery, on the palate it becomes almost a jazz composition: disorderly, inconstant, it goes from caress to scratch without leaving any respite, a whirlwind of sensations at times disorienting.
All in all, it appears to be a sort of experiment, which might disappoint the distillery’s hard core fans, but which has more than one point of interest.