The Balvenie Thirty, the 30 years old from this well-known Speyside distillery, was launched in 2014. I had the fortune of trying this at the whisky festival in Ghent. The label proudly claims ‘Traditional Oak & Sherry Casks’. When Balvenie says traditional oak, they mean American bourbon casks;
Oooh… yes, this is divine. A delicious panoply of sweet fruit with apricots, plums, baked apples and sultanas. The whole is drenched in flowery honey. A leaf of mint. Hints of coffee with chocolate. Beeswax. Gooseberries and nectarines kick in. Even some raspberry in the background. Mild, elegant and simply grand. Refined is the word I am looking for.
Good body. Oily to creamy. Immediately honey-sweet with a lovely spicy edge. Intensely fruity on the same fruit as the nose, joined by bitter oranges, mocha, lime and mirabelles. The fruit evolves towards the caramelized and dried variety. The oak delivers some cloves and black pepper. Great balance.
The mint and honey return in the long finish.
A grand Balvenie that again demonstrates the importance of good casks. If the whisky is still this lively and fruity after three decades, then you know what you are doing. Top dram. Between 750 and 1.000 EUR, depending on where you look. Google is your friend.