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Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask

Balvenie With Sweet Rum

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@VictorReview by @Victor

21st Mar 2016

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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
    87

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I've had Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask finish from a variety of sources, including a full bottle, which I did not previously review. The current review is being made primarily from a sample provided thanks to @jonathan. This is a whisky finished in Rum casks

Nose: typical clean Balvenie base malt with a sweet overlay, and more than the usual amount of wood influence for a Balvenie of its age. Easy, gentle, pleasant. Typical Balvenie citrus with a hint of grassiness. My first full bottle did not start out as an integrated product, but became very tasty after the bottle was open about a month. All other samples I have tasted were quite good from the start. Water added adds some nice sweet high-pitched notes. Very nice nose with water. Score: 21.5/25

Taste: good translation to the mouth, and even a little more enjoyable. Water added bundles the flavours. Score: 22/25

Finish: moderate length of finish, which stays very mellow. Water added muddles the flavours together. Score: 22/25

Balance: very nice overall balance. Rum sweetness goes well to balance Balvenie citrus. Score: 22/25

Total Sequential Score: 87.5 points

Strength: moderate strength of flavours. Score: 22/25

Quality: all of the flavours are of very good quality. Score: 22/25

Variety: adequate but modest variety of flavours. Score: 21/25

Harmony: yes, this works, mostly from the balance of sweetness from rum cask balanced against sour tartness of barley citrus. Score: 22/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 87 points

Comment: Balvenie 14 YO Caribbean Cask is a light, but pleasant whisky, which is usually quite reliable, but may sometimes need a month or two for a new bottle to open up to its best potential

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11 comments

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

Nice review @Victor. I like the way you do it with two different sets of criteria. I'm about half way into a bottle of this that I bought last September. I thought I'd made a big mistake at first, but now, 6 months on it is drinking very nicely. the rum influence seems a bit more subtle now, whereas on first opening I found it somewhat bitter. I would score it right around the same as you--mid 80s. Cheers.

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Cheers, @BlueNote! Yes, I thought I had made a big mistake when I first tasted my 750 ml bottle of Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask. I think that it was after 1 month, but it may have been after 2 months, that it came together and became very enjoyable. Other samples of 14 CC have for me all been much better than was that bottle.

Rum does interesting things with whisk(e)y. It gives backbone and structure. I have found that wood aged rums (8 YO or more) are great refreshers and fortifiers for old flabby bottles of bourbon-barrel malts and bourbons. 5% addition of wood-aged rum can do excellent revivals of many old bottles. It doesn't work with wine-finished whiskies, though.

3 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

It might have been a much improved dram at 46-48% ABV. Good tip with the wood aged rum. I must try that sometime with some of the duds that have been languishing in my cabinet.

3 years ago 0

Astroke commented

I really like this one, but in Ontario it's $120 now and I will not be replacing it at that price. Balvenie is probably my favorite SM and they are quickly becoming the most over priced Speyside Whiskey on the market, at least in Canada. Besides my back up 15 year 1B Sherry Cask I have nothing in reserve and will probably have to move on from Balvenie. What a shame.

3 years ago 0

maltmate302 commented

Victor very interesting that you state the addition of 5% of rum can lift certain 'tired' whiskies.I would never thought of doing that but I look forward to trying it!Have you any other 'tricks' to lift a poor whisky.

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@maltmate302, for a flaccid sherried malt whisky the addition of a little bit of a first-rate cask strength sherried whisky like Macallan Cask Strength or Amrut Intermediate Sherry will help a lot. The problem is you aren't likely to want to part with even small amounts of those cask strength sherried malts. I haven't yet tried the experiments using straight sherry as an additive, but if you can find a satisfactory sherry, that approach would likely be far more cost-effective. I'd be inclined to try a sweetened sherry, something like Harvey's Bristol Cream.

3 years ago 0

maltmate302 commented

Thank you @Victor.Actually I'm in the fortunate position of having 3 Amrut Intermediate Sherry's in my collection at 62 euros each as opposed to 85 pounds in the UK.I've never seen a Macallan CS! Now that you've said it I probably will get a little bottle of sherry for experimental purposes!

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I just reviewed this one - I gave it a slightly lower score than you but your notes are very similar to how I feel about it. Very nice but doesn't excite me too much.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@talexander, yes, Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask is more for mellow than for exciting.

For me, this dram has its own peculiar optimal mood for best enjoyment, as do many whiskies.

2 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Very true - a very pleasant, relaxing dram after a crazy busy day. I'm also tasting it next to the Teeling Small Batch (an NAS (but apparently well matured) Irish blend aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in rum casks). The pot-still-heavy Irish seems to clash with the smooth rum, whereas the Balvenie is much more harmonious.

2 years ago 0

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