The Balvenie is one of those distilleries that geeks love to love. In William Grant and Sons’ infinite understanding of their market they are about to roll out the second batch of the Tun 1509 (Batch 1 reviewed here) – the über-geeky whisky with a map of individual cask influence. Between the move to the higher ABV 21 year old (see here) and the geekiness going on in the whisky world, perfectly catered to by the new 21, you’d think that this thought process would influence everything coming out of Balvenie, and we’d see nothing but “craft grade whisky” out of them.
Sadly, this isn’t the case.
I recently tasted the 25 year old Triple Cask, and was quite disappointed to find it to be a totally “old thinking” whisky. This is Balvenie’s duty free range, consistsing of a 12, 16 and 25 year old. They are matured in three types of casks: Refill ex bourbon, first fill ex bourbon casks and first fill Oloroso sherry casks. This whisky suffers from two basic problems: Firstly, it doesn’t actually feel 25, with the nose still holding a lot of malt and less oak. Secondly, the palate is rather simple, not quite what I’d expect from a 25 year old Balvenie. I won’t even mention the fact that it’s bottled at 40% ABV, as that really isn’t this dram’s most obvious detraction.
Balvenie Triple Cask 25 (40% ABV)
Appearance: Copper, legs are quick and thick.
Nose: The signature Balvenie oranges are under some sweet sherry, but they do come out. Honey, cinnamon and quite a bit of malt with vanilla, light dried fruit and orange concentrate. The nose really doesn’t feel 25 years old.
Palate: Chewier than I would have expected for 40%. Oranges and citrus zest, white pepper and pastry dough.
Linger: Light spice on tongue with a very faint sweetness. Spice in the gullet and milk chocolate in a medium finish.
By far the most disappointing Balvenie I’ve had. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not BAD whisky. It’s just not the 25 year old stunner I expected in any way.
I tasted the Triple Cask 16 year old on the fly, and remember it being ok, but have no notes to compare.
This is nothing to write home about, and there are far better Balvenies to buy. When you add the £350 price tag, you realize that getting hold of the new batch 2 of the Tun 1509 is actually a great deal!
A big thanks to Ishai for the dram. Slainte mate!