Whisky Review: Burnside 1989 Aged 28 Years “Water of Life” 下野黒髪きりふりの滝

Style: Fruity and Malty

Nose:
Incredibly beautiful aroma in the form of honeycomb rises out from the glass. Manuka honey drizzle, malt juice at the purest form. Barley swimming through yuzu lemon jam, lemon tea carrying the faintest note of limestone and lavender overtone. Spearmint edge, just a pinch of peppercorns and five spices at the back. Glorious.

Palate:
Sweet malt continues to paddle through comfortably, maple syrup and lemon honey. Vanilla cream wrapping gently around barley husks. Delicate wood smoke, my lord, is this even slightly peated? Yuzu continues to be the centerpiece, zesty sweetness resonates, while citrus oil is giving a slight acidity and bitterness to the palate. Switching to the drier facet, mineral notes, wood planks and perhaps some white pepper sprinkles to finish.

Finish:
We are on the softer side now, malt biscuits and citrus peels with a small dose of sweet honey lemon tea.

Thoughts:
In case you are wondering, Burnside is the code name for Balvenie. Perhaps I was born a bit late and didn’t have the chance to try all the vintage Balvenies. For me, this is probably the best one I have tried to date. The amalgamation and synchronization between the spirit and cask has reached the point of perfection – The sweet honey yuzu, the dazzling malt, the velvety texture, the lovely side notes all put together a wonderful and tantalizing performance. Maybe I would love a little more power but this is absolutely a spell-binding dram.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[47.6% | Independent Bottling | 1989 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Cask Number: 4557 | 33 of 120 Bottles | Non Chill Filtered | Hogsheads | Selected by Carsten Ehrlich & Hideo Yamaoka | **+]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Samaroli Balvenie Unblended Malt Scotch Whisky 1974

[56.0%・Distilled in 1974・Bottled in 1987・R.W. Duthie & Co Bottling for Samaroli・Limited Release of 408 Bottles]

Nose:

Unmistakably Speyside and fairly Balvenie-esque in a splendidly clean manner, light honey and orange essence, a hint of pineapple sweetness followed through with a clean grassy note. The slightly sweet aromas remaining soft and in time expand with notes of yellow fruits and orange peels sipping from a gentle fragrant base.

Palate & Finish:

A mouthful of velvety vanilla arrives first, dressed subtly with the typical Balvenie spices as a clean grassy note impresses on the delivery. Later on the dram really opens up to some beautiful notes, white chocolate swirled with white peaches as vibrant spices splash onto vanilla sauce and lemon jello.

The follow through is slightly on the spicy side and carries into the finish, but the malt thereafter is rather wonderful.

Thoughts:

Oftentimes an indie Balvenie (if you come across one in the wild) tends to carry those seemingly inherent traits of the distillery and this dram is certainly that, in this fundamentally clean way that is most attractive.

Perhaps it’s OBE but I find myself rather enchanted to these subtle nuances the Maestro had so ingeniously curated… there is just something more to the dram than just being a very good, very clean 1970s Balvenie.

To paraphrase Messr John Mayer, the Balvenie 1974 is sort of like a Tiffany dial Aquanaut, when you are dramming it you got to look closer… look closer… look closer still…

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Balvenie Tun Deconstruction 1982 Cask Sample European Oak

Style: Stewed fruits, Waxy and Dignified

Nose:
White flower flies high while an elegant and waxy touch applied on cereal notes. Pear drops and barley singing softly and expanding throughout the whole aroma. Spice lunges from the back, nutmeg with slight earthiness.

Palate:
Another big waxy brush on stewed fruits cooking up nicely on the palate. The age is apparent here – walnut, polished oak, cabinet with perfume sweetness latching onto the cereal core. Pear drops, barley, oatmeal all nicely integrated and weaved together.

Finish:
Honey malt slightly diluted with water, red liquorice with a few vanilla blots.

Thoughts:
Definitely a well matured malt with waxy oak signature written all over the spirit in a pleasant way. Maybe the “dignified” side is can be too prominent that it is more beneficial to use as a vat component in the famous Tun series. Although it is a European oak sherry cask from 1982, the red fruits influence is minimal, maybe it is a third fill or fourth fill cask? Anyway, I feel blessed as how often you can try a 35 years old single cask Balvenie these days? Big thanks Ross for bringing this all the way to Sydney.

[Recommended]

[44-45%? • Distillery Cask Sample • Single Cask • Aged 35 Years / 1982 Distilled • 2017 Bottled]

-Esmond

Dram Review: The Balvenie Single Barrel Aged 25 Years Cask Number 7004

[47.8%・25 Years Old・Distilled in 1989・Bottled Circa 2015・Official Bottling・Cask No. 7004・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

The nose exerts rich honey, and gooey caramel, luxurious but very refined.  Very much Balvenie-esque with a hearty dose of malt.  The wood is well and truly mellow, with hints of pure poached pears and some marzipan as more sweet custard note oozes out.

Palate & Finish:

Vanilla and honey through and through, citrus smoothly gliding alongside a wholesome shortbread note.  Nothing too difficult with some charming maltiness to meet the spices that are a tad on the sharp side.

Cereal dressed with honey and nutmeg powder in the finish.

Thoughts:

Thoroughly Balvenie, very much a wholesome dram.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Balvenie Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years

Style: Toffee fruits and Spicy

Nose:

Round and composed aroma we have here – cereal, creamy oatmeal stirring with fresh green and apples. Toffee base, a mix of peppermint, peppercorns and copper notes floating atop. Apricots jam to finish.

Palate:

Toffee apples hitting the ground and tangerines hopping into the fruit wagon. More fruits dipping into vanilla cream with plenty of nutmeg dusting down. Mmmm, here comes the rum influence – Cereal malt and waxy honeycomb taking a subtle hint of apricots, peppermint and spirit spice rising from the deep and strikes as flavours retreating at the back palate. Caramalized oak finish.

Finish:

Syrupy tangerine and apricots with a light drizzle of vanilla sauce. A good dose of waxiness, feels like there are some well-matured casks pulling the weight here. Finish with prominent honeycomb and spiced oak.

Thoughts:

Widely available on the market, but it feels the layering/vatting of this batch is a bit unusual. Probably just me imagining things again – we have some spritely, rum seasoned malt placing on top of a composed American oak driven core. Maybe some well-matured casks are utilized here. Not my favourite profile but the malt is nicely assembled. Very close to a tick.

[43% • Original Bottling • Circa 2013 • General Release x+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask Aged 15 Years #241

Style: Sherry and Delicate

Nose:
Deep raisins and Christmas pudding on the nose. Almonds, white chocolate cake and plenty of cinnamon dust on the side. Peppermint overtone clouding touches of barley sugar, followed by red cherries, black currants and finishes off with milk chocolate and a light fizz of ginger spice.

Palate:
Delicate, comfortable red fruits opening on the palate. Sultanas raining down with plenty of chocolate mousse. Almond croissants nicely powdered by icing sugar. A peck of spearmint, red fruits plucking all the right chords. Cranberries and red grapes slowly drop to nutty barley tone and give an extra depth and texture. Cinnamon skin, light dose of black pepper. Finishes with a faint hint of floral tone.

Finish:
Dry cinnamon roll and ginger slices lift up the soothing sherry. Christmas cake, dates give a long and satisfying finish.

Thoughts:
Such a calm and cozy sherry Balvenie, wonderful levels of sherry on display, combines so well with the nutty barley spirit which enhances the depth and complexity greatly. Strength working on the optimum level. Couldn’t help but wonder if all Balvenie Single Barrels can reach this level of quality…

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[47.8% • Original Bottling • Single Cask • Non Chill Filtered • Bottle Number: 304 • 650 Bottles • Cask Number: 241 • **]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: The Balvenie Madeira Cask Aged 21 Years

Tasting Notes:

The Balvenie Madeira Cask Aged 21 Years ✓ [Recommended if you like the style/distillery]

Style: Sweet and Elegant

Nose:

Orange marmalade infused with tender vanilla cream. Timber dust floating in the air. Floral honey unfolds a crisp, sweet Autumn harvest Semillon. Dash of citrus oil on the surface and white pepper sprinkled over it.

Palate:

Elegant orange-nutty notes rest on the palate. Subtle vanilla and sugar roasted almonds lead us to more sweet white wine branches and light sherry flicks. Tropical fruits gist finally unravelled. Fading caramel cream, honey oak tail towards the end.

Finish:

Fresh citrus orange and increasing apparent tropical fruits lingers. Subtle vanilla and barley.

Thoughts:

Subtle and elegant style of Balvenie. Citrus orange beauty, rather soft and shy build up that you have to search for it at times. As I comb through my Balvenies to cook up this review, how the characters are altered by different cask finishes/ maturation is truly remarkable. Another decent Balvenie in my book. Recommended if you like this distillery/style. End note, I have said this many times, but I will say this again – if only this is a 46%…

[40% • 2015 • Original Bottling • Travel Retail Exclusive]

-Esmond

 

Whisky Review: The Balvenie Triple Cask Aged 12 Years

Tasting Notes:

The Balvenie Triple Cask Aged 12 Years

Style: Honey and Malty

Nose:

Nice honeycomb and banana notes bolstered by creamy vanilla and butterscotch on the nose. Light, non-provoking, slightly floral fragrance. Fresh oak shavings with velvety spice. Fruity notes open up slowly and we have sweet pomelo and dried mangoes towards the end.

Palate:

Hazy honey malt stretching lazily on the first touch. Vanilla with a few drops of butter oil, malty and floral notes conjugate in the middle. Oak and spices busting in quickly, caramel sauce and orange citrus shavings. Malt biscuit undertone.

Finish:

Barley sugar with bits of vanilla flickering lightly.

Thoughts:

A rather light and fuzzy Balvenie to me, as I need to sip more than usual to capture the flavours during my write up. Soft texture highlights the floral and fruity side of Balvenie. Smooth honey and nice oak going on with this dram.

[40%・2015・Original Bottling・Travel Retail Exclusive]

-Esmond

 

Whisky Review: The Balvenie Double Wood Aged 12 Years

Tasting Notes:

The Balvenie Double Wood Aged 12 Years

Style: Sweet and Creamy

Nose: 

A creamy introduction with nice vanilla ice cream and peppermint sprinkles. The sweetness opens up with a good ten minutes and we have fat butterscotch tiramisu, an adorable flow of maple syrup dripping over. The tone dropped slightly towards the end which almost borders the coffee spectrum. Delicate, creamy nose.

Palate:

Honey and roasted macadamia notes on first lick. Peppermint butterscotch cake with flashes of dry red fruits in between. Dry, raw spices coming through with a much-evaporated trail of treacle. Buttery texture. Finishes with a chocolate cereal note.

Finish:

Light vanilla malt, scattered salted caramel pecans and a fair few drops of macadamia oil.

Thoughts:

Cannot help wondering what if this is a 43%, or better, a 46% whisky. Very enjoyable cereal, buttery and malty character from the distillery. So silky, rich and creamy. I must confess I have not tried too much of their releases at this stage, but this will end very soon as I am filling in the fan club application right now…

(40%/2014/OB/GR)

-Esmond