Todays review brings us to this mini of The Balvenie 12 Year Old Triple Cask. Yes, normally I conduct these in a more formal and full sized fashion but I am flying today. It was a long morning, and this wee mini was what I initially thought to be a fantastic little find. Getting Balvenie in Ireland is a bit of a task you see, so I was happy to see these wee ones at the airport, and promptly picked it up in addition to an interesting looking Glenfiddich (more on that later).
The Balvenie. Doubtless one of the most asked-for whiskies, the name is known by whisky drinkers through out the world. Built in 1892 by William J Grant, The Balvenie (the village of luck) range spans larger than most, with dozens of bottles in their vintages, special releases, a large travel retail range, and of course a core range spanning from 12 to 30 years old. Curiously, it did not have a distillery bottling until 1973. The few independently bottled Balvenies are collectors items, the distillery and Grants loathing to sell any casks. This young mini is compromised of three seperate barrel types, first fill American Oak, refill casks and first-fill Oloroso Sherry butts, with a 6 month marriage following the maturation to allow the flavours to come together naturally and soundly.
The whisky opens to a mild nose of vanilla custard, sultanas and raisins stirred through while a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg over the top. Marshmallow sweetelness flows into pineapple, peaches and strawberries, followed by some cherry, caramel and rum & raisin chocolate. The sherry falls away quite quickly though, and leaves the dram a bit wanting.
Our palate is spicy, with alot of pepper, cinnamon and chili, but it feels at odds with the coffee, hazelnut, fudge and chocolate that come through. Quite odd, as you would expect those to compliment the other. Light orange with ginger follows after, and our finish is light with honey, sugary notes, banana and some camomile in the very end.
Hmmm. I bought this on my way through duty free as I wanted something Scottish today, considering my last two reviews (hint) and Ireland doesnt see much of the Balvenie. After having it though, I feel as though if I knew what it tasted like I would’ve gone for something else. It’s fine. It really is, but it’s just that. There is nothing special about it, and I have had much better travel retail. I’ve had much better whiskies hand’s down. The whisky falls a touch flat, a touch one dimensional, and all in all just a bit boring. Honestly, the must fun I had with this whisky was pairing it to a nice Belgium beer, the Ruchefort 8, and then the beer was propping up the whisky. If you see this heading through duty free and must try it, grab one of the mini bottles. But save yourself the cost of a full bottle and pick up something different.