This bottle was a gift from my real estate agent after we bought our house. She enjoys bourbon mostly and during the house hunting process we often discussed whisky and I told her she needed to try scotch. Well she bought me this on the promise that I would let her try it. And she did, and she enjoyed it, but she's still a bourbon gal.
This bottle has been opened one month and is 2/3 full. This is the 43% bottling.
Nose: Definitely pick up the sherry cask on the nose. Subtle, dryer, lighter sherried notes compared to say Glenmorangie Lasanta or even Glenfiddich 12. White grapes, pear, grassy and a bit floral. A pinch of caramel and vanilla.
Palate: Honey, and more honey. Lots of honey. Maybe not as much as when i first opened it, but still veritable amounts of honey. Other light notes of white grape, vanilla, apple and pear. It is very sessionable and "smooth" if a bit one dimensional.
Finish: More honey on the finish with some vanilla as well. Pleasant enough.
Overall: Pretty standard 12yo Speysider nose if on the lighter side. Lots of nice honey notes. Not that complex. It's very drinkable. However, at $65USD + tax there are several other options I would pick up for a sessionable scotch.
Balvenie is a whisky that disappoints me. It was one of the first whiskies I really got into as a beginner. As a result I want to like it but frequently find myself let down by it. It's way overpriced for what it is as a starter. And then its invariably bottled at 40% in the UK, chill filtered and coloured.
It's frustrating because I can't help thinking it could be so much better than it is. If this was given a proper craft presentation and sensibly priced I reckon it would rival the likes of Benromach as a 'go to' Speysider.
@Wierdo, I can see The Balvenie people cringing as they read your comment. I am in the same place that you are with Balvenie. I have had it all over the place. Some have been fabulous and others quite disappointing, with the bottom line being that I am unsure how much trust to place in them when I consider the purchase of a bottle, especially a bottle blind purchase from a batch of any of their products of which I have not tasted from that precise batch.