Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tasting: Balvenie Single Barrel 12 Year

The Balvenie Single Barrel 12 year
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Non Chill-Filtered

Distillery: The Balvenie
Age: 12 years
Region: Speyside
ABV: 47.8%
US Price: $64
Release: Ongoing
Cask: First fill ex-bourbon cask

Points: 84/100

The Balvenie Single Barrel 12 year is fully matured in first fill ex-bourbon barrels and is part of a series of limited edition releases as each one is bottled from a single barrel, giving each release the possibility of being slightly different than the last. The use of ex-bourbon barrels to mature scotch is extremely common and is the most used type of cask due to its availability and affordability; however, Scotch fully matured in ex-bourbon barrels is not as common as you may think as many are either married or finished in other types of casks. Given that this is also bottled from a single barrel after 12 years makes it even more unique.

I have recently been enjoying Scotch full matured in ex-bourbon barrels, especially on these hot summer days. They have interesting and refreshing flavors you can't get anywhere else. If you are interested in trying some other fully matured ex-bourbon barrel Scotches then I would recommend the Glenfiddich 14 year Bourbon Barrel Reserve (US only), Glencadam 10 year, The Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve, Hazelburn 10 year and Kilchoman 100% Islay.

To be honest, my first tasting of The Balvenie Single Barrel 12 year was a bit disappointing.  I found it too simple, oaky and one dimensional. I put the bottle away for some time only to come back to it for this review. I wasn’t expecting a lot but ended up being pleasantly surprised. This whisky had completely changed for the better. It had transformed and acquired a depth and complexity that wasn't there before. That just goes to show, you can't judge a whisky from the first time you taste it.

Nose: Sweet green apple, lemon zest, pear, honey, vanilla and caramel. Fresh cut oak and ginger.

Taste: Thick and chewy.  Creamy caramel, honey, oak, cooked apples and buttered toast.

Finish: Medium-long finish. Cereal notes, honey, spice and orange liqueur.

Photo & Review: Cody Diefenderfer