Whisky Reviews

Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel


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I can’t quite decide whether I like single barrel expressions or not. The arguments pro single barrel are that it offers a bit of variation without, necessarily, being all too different from what you know and love (assuming you’ve had a sip from one bottle, liked it, and gone on to purchase another). It lets you find an expression you like and offers enough variation for you not to get too bored too quickly, meaning you can buy it over and over. As great as that is, it also means that you can buy a bottle and absolutely love it, drink it all, purchase another thinking it will be the same – but more often than not it simply won’t be. The subtle differences, then, can be a source of both joy and tears.

The reason behind my rambling on about the pros and cons of single barrel expressions is that today’s review is of the Balvenie 15 year old Single barrel. Unfortunately I enjoyed this drink at a pub after already consuming a glass and a pint or two, and as such I didn’t think to ask the bartender what cask number it was. I did take some notes, though, and hopefully they should be accurate enough even though I may or may not have been slightly happy at the time!

The nose is nice and sweet, packing a lovely combination of heathery vanilla, honey, an assortment of ripe fruits and a sobering dry oak. I have to admit that I was quite surprised when I read my tasting notes to find that I had put heathery vanilla and honey rather than heathery honey and vanilla, but apparently that’s what I smelled!  From the nose which was mainly sweet, the palate took a quite interesting turn and presented a very satisfying peppery note which broke off the sweetness very nicely, along with some citrus, spice and sweet malt.

Definitely an interesting and well put-together malt, though don’t count on yours tasting exactly the same as mine!

Color: A ray of sunlight through a glass of white wine.

Nose: Sweet, heathery vanilla, honey, ripe fruits and dry oak.

Taste: Peppery, sweet, malt, citrus, spice and oak.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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