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Whisky Review – The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year Old

By Boozedancing @boozedancing

Whisky Review – The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year Old

I first tried The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 at the Rare Craft Roadshow event that I attended back in late September. Since I found this whisky to be very different from all of the other Balvenie expressions that I’ve tried over the years, I decided to add it to my Christmas wish list. Thanks to my very generous Mother-In-Law, I now have my very own bottle.

Here is what The Balvenie has to say about this whisky:

The Balvenie Single Barrel is a 15 year old single malt which is drawn from a single traditional oak whisky cask of a single distillation. Whilst each cask is subtly different, The Balvenie Malt Master selects only those casks which have the essential characteristics of The Balvenie Single Barrel, particularly honey, vanilla and oaky notes. Each bottling forms a limited edition of no more than 350 hand-numbered bottles – so each bottle is unique and unrepeatable.

Let’s find out if I enjoyed this whisky as much the second time around…

  • Appearance: Golden amber (duh). Lots of thin, fast moving  legs form after giving it a swirl.
  • Aroma: Vanilla. Allspice. Maple syrup and dark brown sugar. Cinnamon. A whiff of cigar smoke.
  • Taste: Slightly oily mouthfeel. That first sip tingles the tip and sides of my tongue. Lots of cinnamon spiciness from beginning to end. Becomes somewhat astringent at mid-palate. Could this be the effect of 15 years in an oak barrels, i.e. is this what they mean by oaky? A lingering finish that leaves your mouth feeling all warm and tingly with spicy cinnamon and brown sugar infused goodness.
  • ABV: 47.8%

I may be way off base here, but I found The Balvenie Single Barrel to have very Bourbon like qualities. The Bourbon that comes to mind is the 2010 Eagle Rare 17 that I purchased in January of 2011. Much like the Eagle Rare 17, this is a very smooth and delicious whisky. It also has a good balance of sweet and spicy flavors. Although I somewhat prefer the 12 year old DoubleWood and the 21 year old PortWood, this is still an excellent Balvenie expression that I look forward to enjoying and sharing throughout the year.


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