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Balvenie 17 Year Old Sherry Oak

Average score from 3 reviews and 7 ratings 88

Balvenie 17 Year Old Sherry Oak

Product details

  • Brand: Balvenie
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%

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Balvenie 17 Year Old Sherry Oak

This particular expression has a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. It was my first serious purchase of a single malt. I remember looking at it sitting on the shelf at my duty free and thinking 'what is that insanely captivating bottle with that deep dark liquid inside of it?'

I picked it off the shelf and, unlike what I do nowadays, I literally uncorked it the moment I got home. This was a number of years ago and I had no idea about sherry maturation or generally anything to do with single malts. All I knew was if something tasted this good then I was on the right path.

I've tasted a number of Balvenies down the road and they are one of the few extremely reliable distilleries when it comes to releasing top stuff. I like the different experimentations they have been up to also with different casks.

First launched in 2007 this 17 year old expression has been matured exclusively in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks. There is always the danger of the sherry overpowering the spirit when you do that, however, when you have master craftsman at work that seldom happens.

My sample is from a brand new bottle (2012) and served at 43%

Nose: Vanilla. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. Fruit cake. Christmas cake. Raisins - the big dark kind. Clove. Dark plums. Berries. Sugarcane. Ginger. Oak. Cola. The nose is thick and quite syrupy. But not in a sickly way. It just makes you feel warm inside.

Palate: Chocolate. Oak. Cinnamon. Black pepper. Fruit cake. Maple syrup. Rose water. Tobacco leaf. Vanilla. Classic Oloroso flavors. Brilliantly put together.

Finish: Sweet. Vanilla. Maple syrup. Rose.

One of the truly good whiskies of our time.


With job-searching and life-planning filling up my spring & summer means i haven't been able to spend too much time reviewing whiskies.

But during my little "off-time" at my parents place in the south of Sweden, i found that my dear dad had kept a now discontinued Balvenie around. Which one? The 17 year old "Sherry Wood"!

Nose: Bittersweet sherry but more bitter than sweet. Citrus fruit and lemon peel with a toasted oloroso sherry oak. Cherries, figues and little cola. A herbal edge at the end of the nose with angelica and basil.

Palate: Citrus, barley sugars & barley citrus. Continues relentlessly with orange marmelade and vanilla cream. The typical Balvenie maltiness signature. An elegant, sweet and creamy malt note. This malty note carries the development with coffee, caramel and almonds.

Finish: This one ends on a very pleasant mellow oloroso sherry note with lots of bitter cacao and arabica beans. Some Ginger accompanies the duo with some lingering barley sugars.

Good find this! Didn't think it would be as good thinking that this bottle was around the time Blavenie had a dip in quality (2007-8 ish) but this bottle just proves that there are good bottles everywhere and that we should indeed shop around to see what we can find, if anything for the experience, good or bad as it may be. Ironic since i didn't buy this bottle, but i gave my father an extra warm hug.


The color is such a deep beautiful amber. The nose is very sweet. Creamy on the palate. So smooth you can have it neat or just a few splashes of water to open it up. Very floral. Reminds me of fresh fruits in spring. Mainly plums.

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