$$$ — 43% ABV — 12 Years
A very old distillery in the heart of Speyside, the Balvenie is a fantastic tempering, somewhere between several extremes: the vanilla of charred Bourbon barrels and the red fruits of seasoned Sherry barrels; the deep green of peat and the round gold of barley; the salty sea by the coast and the crisp air of the Highlands.
That last bit is no doubt what makes Speyside such a popular spot for distilleries; they're clustered in that river valley closer than any other place in Scotland, and the two biggest single malts there are, the Macallan and Glenfiddich, are just down the street.
But the Balvenie, more than most, does not shy from experimentation. While other distilleries hedge towards the 10/18/25 year formula, the Balvenie makes something for everyone. Beyond the Doublewood, there's the Caribbean Cask, the Peated Cask, the cult favorite Tun. Then there's the Single Barrel line, where all the whisky comes from just one barrel — a very difficult and prestigious (read: expensive) bottling.
There may be no way for me to divorce my personal feelings from the Balvenie. I fell in love while drinking this whisky, somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It being probably the perfect place in the continental United States to drink whisky, I was overtaken rather fast. So I must insist you take my opinions on this one with a drop of water.
W. Grant & Sons is located in Dufftown, Strathspey in northeast Scotland. Established in 1887 by William Grant, it remains an independent distiller.
malt / seasalt / basil / blackberry / firewood / caramel / honey