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The Balvenie 14 yo, Goldencask

Balvenie was built by William Grant in 1892, and today Balvenie and Glenfiddich are of course sister distilleries, a fact known to most regular whisky drinkers, now owned by the related William Grant & Sons. In fact the 2 distilleries are the company’s solid foundation in the single malt market. Both distilleries are jealously guarded – when was the last time you saw an indie bottling of either? – and likely to remain so in this bubble period in whisky’s ongoing story.

Occasionally the indies might release something called Burnside, which is really Balvenie ‘teaspooned’ with a tiny amount of Glenfiddich, but which by law prevents the naming of the whisky as Glenfiddich as it is now technically a blended malt. Wardside is the name used when the 2 whiskies are switched.

Balvenie is also one of the few distilleries with a working floor malting – but which can only provide 15% of the malt needed. Today it has 11 stills (5 wash, 6 spirit), 2 were added in 1965, and 1 in 1971 (my source says so though I am not sure how adding a single still works). Around this period of renovation, the stills were also switched to steam and worm tubs replaced out. By the 70s, demand was such that much more malt was taken in and the floor maltings ceased to contribute greatly to the character of the distillate.

 

The Balvenie 14 yo, Goldencask, 47.5%

Balveniegoldencask

Balvenie has played around with rum casks a fair amount. There is a Cuban cask, and when that couldn’t be exported into the US, a Carribean cask, a Rum Cask, and also this Goldencask, which is a finished in carribean rum casks but bottled for the duty free market.

Nose  Nose: Sweet, with a light fragrance. Custard and brown sugar, wet wood, ‘low’ florals – dense but faint, a single honeysuckle crushed between the fingers. There’s this fibrous green vegetal sweetness (that must be the rum?) that wraps up the whole nose. More wet wood and coconut husks. Ethereal nose, not the most assertive or ‘solid’ but well knit and pleasing in its restrained sweetness.

 

Taste  Palette: Sweet malt and intense green tea, light in the mouth, but chewy enough. Green edged, sweet, padded with soft wood spices, becoming bitter, some aniseed rock showing itself towards the end. Very easy drinking. But also quite simplistic.

Finish  Finish: Medium, drying, bitters, not sure in a herbal or spiced way.

Score30

 

A completely drinkable whisky that would not find any haters. There’s nothing to dislike, but it feels like the dial is turned to 6 when a 9 would be better.

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2014 by in Balvenie and tagged .
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