The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch – 16-Year-Old French Oak
I have always had a love-hate relationship with Scotch. So, when selecting items for things like the Spirited Holiday Countdown Calendar, or even making a recommendation to a customer, I often find myself gravitating toward the same items, brands, etc. I am making a New Year’s resolution to change that and dive a little deeper into the world of Scotch Whisky in an attempt to service you better, and also expand my own enjoyment. Part of that might have to be a trip across the pond, but that is to be determined.
The Balvenie is one of the brands that I often gravitate towards when making recommendations. They are non-peated Scotches (This is a great article on the difference between Peated and Non-peated. I highly recommend you give it a read – Peated Whisky vs Non-Peated Whisky | Man of Many), typically aged in a primary barrel for at least 12 years. Why is that important? It gives the whisky more time to develop character that is derived from that primary barrel (likely bourbon) before going into a second, and sometimes third barrel. I believe it makes a more well-rounded whisky.
This newest release from The Balvenie is extraordinary. Finished in French Wine Casks, and in this case, Pineau des Charentes fortified wine casks. Pineau des Charantes is a fortified wine made from unfermented grape juice, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie is added and then matured.
- Name: The Balvenie 16-Year-Old French Oak
- Country of Origin/Locale: Dufftown, UK – Banffshire
- Proof: 95.2
- Glass: Glencairn
- Temperature: Room
- Cocktail Options: None – Drink Neat
- Available: Yes.
- Price: List Price – $249.99 JJ’s VIP Price – $199.99
Tom’s Tasting Notes: I used the words extraordinary in my narrative above, and that is not hyperbole. This whisky is extraordinary. Pineau is very much like Cognac in flavor, so the presence of that in this whisky is very noticeable. The nose has a distinct floral component with ripe apples and a hint of spice. The flavor is sweet, citrusy and spicy, with a hint of ginger and lemon peel. The finish is silky smooth for 95 proof.
This one I really enjoyed. Again I missed the proof. I guessed 108. I’ve been using a 90 proof bourbon to set my palate before tasting these and apparently it’s not doing me justice. This one is so sweet, it almost feels like there’s sugar added. The barrel influence comes in beautifully. I followed it with The Balvenie 14 caribbean cask. Can’t wait to see what’s going to be in the bottle tomorrow.
Every one of these has been a home run so far, Tom. Great, great picks.