The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask 15 Year
The Balvenie // Speyside, Scotland
The Balvenie, a Speyside distillery established in 1892, has long dabbled in different wood-ageing expressions, but this single-barrel release, debuting in 2014 after at least 15 years in European oak sherry casks, is unique. No more than 650, hand-numbered bottles are produced from each cask, and as no two casks are precisely alike, expect some variation from lot to lot—all on top of the distillery’s typical profile of nuts and dried fruits. A bottled proof of 95.6 further distinguishes the release. (Sampled from Bottle 276 of Barrel 16,272)
Single MaltDistilled in pot stills from 100% malted barley, produced at one distillery, aged in barrels; if Scotch or Irish, must be aged for at least three years.
Cask TypeEuropean ex-sherry butt
"Nosed neat, this bottling offered up a whiff of iodine, notes of dried apricot and caramel, and the nostalgic aromas of toasted marshmallow—plus some of that remembered campfire’s heat. On the palate, the “proofiness” continued, bolstered by a Vietnamese cinnamon spiciness in turn grounded by a touch of lightly smoky peat; the expected sherry barrel influences may add richness but are most directly apparent at the end of a lingering finish. A couple drops of water tamed the heat, teased out some orange peel, encouraged an accent of salinity and brought everything into better balance--but doused the campfire. "