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KCM Spirit Reviews

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review 111: Balvenie 14 Yr Carribean Cask

Review 111
The Balvenie 14 Yr Caribbean Cask: 43% abv

Unfortunately, Balvenie thinks that they are THE Ohio State, so I titled is as they did, but I it against any fiber in my being to do so, because this is actually quite an awesome brand of Scotch. So for the rest of The Review, I will be calling this Balvenie. Balvenie is owned by Grant’s & Sons, which makes Grant’s Blended Scotch and owns Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich and Balvenie are also geographical neighbors as well, which makes this an interesting comparison. Here’s a fun experiment for you to try. Put Balvenie 12 Yr Double Wood and Glenfiddich 12 Yr next to each other and compare. You’ll be absolutely shocked by the differences, if you pay enough attention. So here we go. Balvenie 14 Yr. You don’t see a great number of rum casks being used for whisky, partially because the regulation on how often you can use casks for a rum don’t exist, so rum producers have very little reason to dispose of their casks. There is more to it then that, but this is also why sherried whiskies are more expensive and rare. 

How does this one fair and what does it add to the whisky? Well, on the nose we get a complex blend of flavors, including barley, malt, oak, light green grape, vanilla, a subtle blend of bananas and anise, molasses, nutmeg, slight lemon, soft apple, toffee, white chocolate, and spicy fruits. {Deep inhale}. Alright. So yeah, this one has a lot to it on the nose. And after adding water, you’ll get more malt in the nose, with additions of caramel and sea salt. The arrival is strangely going to contradict the nose. There is malt and huge vanilla on the arrival, with some spiciness and caramel. After adding water, the arrival deteriorates greatly. The body makes up for this with more complexity. Vanilla, malt grain, caramel, cinnamon, ginger, slight mint, apple, honeydew, honey and slight saltiness are all present in the body. Vanilla is first in line here for a reason. The vanilla in this is so huge, as a compliment of the cask it was aged in. The body will not do well in water, as it just backs off the flavor. The finish contains vanilla, toffee, malt, slight saltiness, caramel, molasses/brown sugar, cinnamon, confectioner’s sugar, dry black pepper, honey, and slight mint. 

The finish remains relatively unchanged with water. So this is a complex Single Malt. This whisky will not do well if left out for over a half hour or so. It will thin out and taste dull. So pour small drams and enjoy at a leisurely pace. This isn’t the MOST complex Scotch, partially due to the fact that the Caribbean cask is very dominant in influencing the flavors with sweetness. All the same, it is a wonderful expression and we know many people who love this. Do note: this isn’t one of their standards so if you want it, buy it now. And we suggest you do. 

Score: 9.0/10

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