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Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

Tingly bourbon barrel fun...

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@hunggarReview by @hunggar

13th Sep 2015

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
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A single first fill bourbon-barreled 12 year old expression from Balvenie today. As is usually the case with single barrel whiskies, this one might not taste quite the same as yours. But Balvenie has a reputation for keeping its quality high, so let’s hope you enjoy yours as much as I’m enjoying mine.

Nose: Bright and fruity, almost tropical character. Banana, pineapple, apples, coconut, honey, vanilla, woodspice, and oak. Crisp and clear.

Palate: Tangy and tingly on arrival. Fizzy, even. Honey, vanilla, heather, pineapple, peanuts, lemon lozenges, and lemon tarts.

Finish: Medium in length. Banana sundae here. Bananas and vanilla ice cream sprinkled with nuts and drizzled with honey. White chocolate, lemon candy, oak, faint mustard, white pepper.

Thoughts: Are we in the highlands here? It’s not breaking any new ground, but it’s well made. Classic bourbon-cask flavours with a solid abv, a clean delivery, and a nice balance. Even more importantly for me, this has some bite to it. A tingly, prickly woodspice greets us on arrival and lasts well into the finish. Possibly too oaky for some, I find the spicy dryness works nicely with the core flavours of honey, vanilla, and pineapple. That added kick gives an edge to what’s already a lovely bourbon-casked character. I like this a lot. Recommended.

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2 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

I found the one i tried to be harsher than the 15 YO single barrel. I had given it to my uncle as a gift. But after a couple of months I poured the last dram and it was a little smoother with more complexity.

Here in Canada it's expensive. An Amrut (younger) single barrel bourbon cask is, in my opinion, as or more complex, higher ABV (near cask strength), and much less expensive (since they dropped the price).

Mind you, the profile is very different from the Balvenie.

4 years ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

@Nozinan, I've tried a 15 sherry, but not the bourbon, so I'm not sure how they measure up. But yeah, this is actually a bit rough around the edges. There's no youth or alcoholic burn, but there's a big dose of drying spice. As I mentioned in my review, one might be justified in calling this over-oaked (which is strange for a 12 year old).

As for the price, yeah. It's expensive here too. Too expensive to ever be a cabinet staple. Fun for a fun one-off, though. But I agree that Amrut is better bang for buck. Thanks for your comment.

4 years ago 0

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