This is one of the samples left from our Scottish summer trip: the 5th batch of Balvenie 12 yo Signature, a vatting of ex Oloroso sherry, bourbon first fill and refill casks. At the distillery, it tasted very nice. But as you certainly know, in Scotland every whisky tastes great… Let’s test it in our milanese “tasting room”. Color: full gold.
N: just one sniff and it’s suddenly clear why Balvenie is so popular. An impressive richness of aromas and a perfect balance between sherry and bourbon influence, with the second one prevailing. Vanilla, banana, toffee beside dried fruits and red berries (light cherry aroma, too). It’s sweet, but not in a bad way, thanks to the casks: the oak is evident, with damp wood notes (warehouse) and something minty. It reminds us the familiar scent of stewed mixed fruits: apples, pears and plums. Some dried figues. The fruity side is really magnificent, congratulations! Even a citrusy hint.
P: the first sip prolongs the glorious sweetness of the nose, wrapped by fruit and vanilla. But it’s a flash in the pan: this liveliness gets lost under a bitter layer (beeswax, cappuccino and oak), which overwhelms everything. Bitter honey? Nutmeg? The alcohol is still to much detectable.
F: coconut milk and a strong woody finish. The sherry influence comes back, with those light hints of cherries. Very long and creamy.
Our judgment is a mix between an amazing nose and (too) woody palate.
Anyway, the body is more than decent and it shows a good intensity, despite the minimum ABV. Given the price (35 euro), we’d recommend it as a wonderful entry level from Speyside: 85/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Del Shannon – Runaway.