Manufactured: Speyside, Scotland (Highlands)
I know it’s childish but every time I see the name of this whisky I giggle like a school boy. I mean, what sort of moron would name their whisky after some B grade porn movie. In fact it may well be the sequel to a B grade porn movie. OK enough said ….
Balvenie is somewhat unique (as the bottle bumf informs me) it is one of the only remaining distilleries that grows and malts its own barley. I am not sure if this makes a difference to the quality of the product but I like the idea that they have control of the whole process from seed to bottle.
So why double wood (hehehe), well the spirit spends time in both classic bourbon casks before being transferred to sherry casks for finish. The only other point to note is the bottle I purchased a few months back ‘duty free’ in Sydney is bottled at 43% alcohol. Why this is unusual is that all the other reviews I have seen note that they are bottled at 40%. I am nearly sure there will be a tax/ duty reason for this but does it make a flavour difference? Don’t know, nor will I likely ever get an opportunity to compare. Anyway, on with the notes.
The Whisky displays a bright burnished amber colour that makes you feel warm just looking at it.
The nose on this dram is not intense but worth investigating. The most notable aroma is the deep caramel with a subtle vanilla oak backbone. Cutting through the warm caramel is a light citrus highlight. This Whisky is subtle in nose but still quite layered.
I could tell before the spirit hit my mouth that it was going to have the slightly oily mouth feel. It was growing legs and trying to climb out of the tumbler while I was taking notes. The first flavours to hit me were sultanas, caramel and sweet (burnt) toffee. These warm flavours were highlighted by a spicy pepperiness that tingled the tongue. At first I thought this was just the alcohol but I believe it is a real flavour note. Very enjoyable.
If this was a wine (red) I would use the descriptor ‘ a little flabby’ to describe the finish. It clearly spent time in sherry casks that gave it a porty/ sherry ending on the tongue. The flabbiness comes from a slight out of balance nature of the sherry. The positive of this is the real richness that comes from the fruity caramel flavours. The length is also excellent and with a long lingering warmth from the alcohol.
Of late I have been all over the big peat monsters like Ardbeg and it has been a great change to try one of the Speyside whiskies like Balvenie. Looking at this score I think it probably deserves another half point (at least). Either way, don’t be put off. If you like a smoother spirit with a little spice this one will be right up your alley. Enjoy.