Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Gavin0
The Balvenie Whisky
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Taste of London in Regent’s Park, sampling some of the finest dishes created by some of the world’s best chefs. However while stuffing my face with a Shake Shack burger; out the corner of my eye I spotted The Balvenie whisky, one of Scotland’s great exports. I was delighted to find they were hosting tastings fronted by Miss Whisky, a young, blonde Canadian expat who, appearance wise at least, is the polar opposite to every whisky expert I’ve ever met, and it’s refreshing to get a female perspective on this male dominated industry.
I’ve tasted many blended whiskies in my time, but I’m a relative novice on single malts, so took the opportunity to get more acquainted. The Balvenie is one of the few remaining family owned whisky distiller’s in Scotland, and it’s the same family behind the more well-known Glenfiddich and Grant’s. The distillery in Speyside in the North-West of Scotland opened in 1887 and Miss Whisky begins her masterclass by describing the very labour intensive process that goes into making each barrel of Balvenie.
We move on to the three whiskies we would be trying today; 12 year old, 17 year old, and the 14 year old Caribbean Cask single malt. Like any good tasting, we start with the youngest of the three, so as to not overpower the pallet with the more complex flavours to follow. That’s not to say that the 12 year isn’t a fantastic product; aged in bourbon casks before finishing in sherry casks, there is a deep woodiness that makes it extremely drinkable.
As to be expected, the 17 year old has a richer flavour with plenty of forest fruits on the pallet. Despite the sweltering 25 degree heat, I found it extremely pleasant to sit back with my sunnies on and slow sip; mix it at your peril! Finally, we are introduced to something a bit special, whisky finished in rum barrels rather than sherry. If I wasn’t told beforehand, I could have sworn blind I was drinking an aged Appleton rum, and I was in love. I’ve never sipped a whisky with so much caramel and as a massive rum fan, this was definitely up my alley; a worthy alternative to my favourite sugar based spirits.
As far as first steps into the world of single malts go, I don’t think I did too badly with The Balvenie. Personally I’d drink it neat (especially the 17 year old), but unlike the old guard, Miss Whisky is happy for you to enjoy whichever way you like, as long as you’re drinking the good stuff!
The Balvenie 12 year old Doublewood (40% ABV), RRP £33 / 70cl; The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask (43% ABV), RRP £42 / 70cl; The Balvenie 17 Year Old Doublewood (43% ABV), RRP £70 / 70cl- All available from Master Of Malt.