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Balvenie 15 Year Old

Maple Vanilla Hope

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@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

3rd May 2013


Balvenie 15 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Nose: A strong sensation of Maple Vanilla Cream (like smelling that variety of North American doughnut), plus some actual cinnamon (rather than the commonly confused nutmeg-- although that is present, too). On a follow-up breath, you can pick out some tart mandarin.

Palate: Not the best part of the whole experience, unless you gulp fast. Starts with an acidic citrus tang, turns to wood and peppercorn, then finally into much more pleasant flavors of vanilla and nutmeg. A little toffee shows up, too.

Finish: After an initially bitter palate, there is a welcome return to the mellow components of the nose: vanilla cream/marshmallow, nutmeg, nougat, maple. Medium length, becoming a little more acidic towards the end.

This Scotch is obviously a step up from its younger popular sibling, the Double Wood (but not at the level of the 21 Port Wood). The high points are the nose and finish, which hold the promise of great smoothness; the palate disappoints in comparison. The main complaint is the acidic character, which is most prominent when tasting but apparent at all stages. This is another good malt, of the light/toffee/nutmeg variety, that entices but nevertheless sends me back to the Auchentoshan Three Wood.

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whiskyjourney commented

Thanks so much for the review!

I love how various Single Cask bottlings differ. For the most part, the BV15 is remarkably consistent, but once in a blue moon you get the slight off bottle, or the truly AMAZING one!

All part of the wonderful whisky journey.


11 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

I really liked the cask 1976. I bought it as a gift, was lucky to try it, and even luckier to find another bottle of it. Tucked away for another day...

11 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Follow-up: Some good oxidation has improved this Balvenie (as I also found with the 12 Doublewood). There is additional toffee sweetness in the early palate, which is needed to round out that strong tang. The later "woody" part of the palate now has marshmallow. (In fact, now a palate association of the children's breakfast cereal "Lucky Charms".) It is as though the characteristics of the finish have started to occur earlier. The only downside is that the nose has lost much of its spice; but overall I find an improvement. 84.

10 years ago 0

Elapid commented

To add, this is a bourbon drinkers scotch. Nice nose and palate with a strong finish. Not what you typically associate with a scotch more of what you expect from a good bourbon.

9 years ago 0