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Balvenie 17 Year Old Madeira Cask

Orange Zest w/ Plenty of Pepper

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@jwiseReview by @jwise

20th Jan 2011


Balvenie 17 Year Old Madeira Cask
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I am a HUGE Balvenie fan. In fact, I haven't tried a Balvenie expression yet that I did not like. My favorite so far is the 21yr Port Wood. This whisky is a nicely aged dram with an interesting finish, being extra matured in Madeira casks. I don't expect it to be better than the 21yr, but I hope it is better than the 12yr Doublewood. I ordered a sample of this whisky off Master of Malt's Drinks By The Dram. Let's see how it goes, shall we?

This whisky is bottled at 43%, which is a decent ABV. I much prefer the 15yr Single Barrel, as it is around 47%; or at least 46% like Glenfarclas 15yr.

Nose: Wow! Fantastic! Caramel and brown sugar! Fruity delight! A nice rounded note. Plums and berries, yet some milk chocolate as well (not bitter dark chocolate). Some nice spice coming through. There's something else coming out... French toast?

Body: Nice mouth feel. Not watery at all. Rich and strong.

Palate: Sweet spice! This is delicious! The spice is really building, yet the flavor is still smooth and sweet. Citrus fruits predominate.

Finish: Long finish, with plenty of pepper. Orange zest mixed with vanilla honey.

This is a very good whisky. For those who like pepper and citrus fruits, this is the perfect whisky. At the price this bottle sells for ($115 or so for a 750ml), I don't think I'm going to be too tempted to drop the coin on a bottle. The Madeira Cask has the spice of the 14yr Caribbean Cask, but with a layer of citrus fruit over the top. This combination really works. I prefer this whisky over the 14yr Caribbean Cask, but the price is just too high for me to get into. If this whisky was the same price as the Caribbean Cask 14yr ($60), I would probably go for it, as it is really something different (and in this case, different is good!) The DBTD program isn't exactly cheap for those of us in the U.S. with shipping and all, but it's a LOT cheaper than the alternative. I am very glad I had the chance to taste this dram, and I'm even happier I got to taste it for around $8!

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