We closed last week with a very particular whisky: we start now a new one with a malt that, from a certain point of view, represents the concept of whisky par excellence. Obviously we’re speaking about Balvenie, the Dufftown distillery beloved by everyone (if going to Scotland you skip the distillery visit, well.. shame on you for eternity); we sample a particular version, a 21yo finished (impossible to say for how long) in a Port wood. It’s well known that often this kind of “treatment” is reserved to “hide” quite average malts, but speaking about Balvenie, that would be surprising: like the almighty Andrea Giannone always says, “have you ever tried a bad Balvenie?”.
N: quite a strong alcoholic note; the passage in port is for sure not subtle with a sugary patina, wine-y and strawberry-y (can we say that?), like strawberry gelèe. The always generous Balvenie malt is faint; discrete suggestions of raisins, Zuppa Inglese (it’s an Italian dessert, not an English soup”), orange liquor. Not really complex, but pleasant and round, also thanks to some hints of spicy wood. Clove? Quince? Slightly mentholated.
P: initial sweet explosion, similar to the nose: strawberry, for sure, but also a note which resembles caramel, perhaps honey. Afterwards everything softens down, without high notes, rolling on a spicy carpet (clove, again) and dried fruit. Another quaff of mint. Quite a mild body, it loses itself on the way.
F: medium, honey sweet with heavy wine liquor-y notes.
The distillery used us to an almost impeccable delivery, and this, even without being outstanding, it’s for sure a really decent whisky: but why this Port wine finish for a 21 yo? The Balvenie malt is so good by itself! 82/100 not a point more, not one less, in particular considering the price: a bottle of this, for example, costs 3 time more than the excellent 12 Doublewood and twice the stunning 15 Single Barrel.
Recommended soundtrack: Kiesza – Hideaway.