KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 16 – The Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask
Evan is taking a spin at the Advent Blog today, in his words:
Balvenie is one of the two major Speyside distilleries owned by William Grant Sons. It is typically one of the top 10 best selling Scottish Single Malt Brands worldwide – but the distillery’s production and sales are dwarfed by another William Grant Sons operation that goes by the name Glenfiddich. You could say that Balvenie gets overshadowed by the giant that is its neighbouring sister distillery Glenfiddich, but then again which distilleries in Scotland aren’t?
The Balvenie distillery still operates its own floor maltings on site – though it is only responsible for up to 15% of the malt needed for its own production. The house whisky profile is typically well-rounded and honeyed in style. Hints of peat can sometimes be found, but typically not in amounts great enough to keep it from being a crowd-pleaser.
Both as a distillery and as a brand, Balvenie has enjoyed a great deal of success over the past half century – due in no small part to a gentleman named David Stewart. David is the Malt Master at Balvenie who has played a large role in making this single malt as sought after as it is to this day. He was one of the first to experiment with cask finishing with the introduction of the venerable Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood in 1993. In 2017 David marked his 55th year of service in the whisky industry with William Grants.
Cask finishing plays a role in much of the of the current lineup for Balvenie including today’s Advent Whisky – the Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask. Originally matured in ‘traditional oak casks’ before being transferred to barrels that previously held Caribbean Rum. Bottled at 43% ABV.
Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask – 43% – Evan’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Fruity and floral with honey drizzled on top. Peaches and cream, oatmeal with brown sugar, baked apples, pears and even cherries, vanilla, honey roasted almonds and light wood spices. Palate: Smooth and rich. Honey roasted almonds again, apple turnover, poached pears, preserved peaches in syrup, milk chocolate, angel food cake and a gentle, warming spice. Finish: Tangy rum notes, oak and honey on the fade. Comments: Big, rich, and round but so very, very approachable. No real rough edges on this one, just smooth to the point that you wonder where all of the liquid in the bottle went…” – $107 for 700ml – or – $10 for 50ml