Reaching the new millennium, Balvenie, a brilliant distillery located in Dufftown and active since 1892 (that still, nowadays, malts 15% of their yearly barley need) took the decision to begin with new series of bottlings from a single barrel with an impressive quarter of a century aging. Now, for how much the Balvenie single malt production reached circa 7 million liters per year, these bottling are really something unique, also due to the completely random release date and the quite high price range. About the mere economical aspect we’ll speak later, now let’s focus on the distillate, aged in a refill-barrel.
N: It’s immediately clear the refill nature of this bottling, with the distillate as a starring and some “green” notes, for sure almonds (and almonds oil), even some olive oil. With some more oxygen, the profile starts so deliver various delicacies, also if not too sweet and strong: there’s a bit of banana, croissant dough and a shy vanilla… It’s also a bit lemony; apricots and yellow apple. Everything very fresh and delicate.
P: Here the order is reversed. The gentle cut of the barrel evolves from a very clear note in between beeswax and honey (so typically Balvenie), to a sweeter side, with notes of ripe yellow apple and some sort of vanilla, that slowly turns to wood notes, almond oil and an almost mineral suggestion…
F: …that comes back very decide in the finish – a very clean finish, again in between wood and dried almonds. Lightly sugared (liquid sugar, “abstract”).
Very clean and distilled oriented, also if this well mannerism seems to cover a shyness, that is unfortunately limited only to “wealthy wallets”: good but not outstanding for a distillery which usually has an incredible price/quality ratio (have you said 12yo Doublewood?) – but if you really have spare 450 € you can definitely get one, chug it up and discover with happiness how a great distillate can resist 25 years in wood and remain quite intact. Maybe even a bit too much? 86/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Leonard Cohen – Nevermind