Blind Tasting Competition #3: The Balvenie 15yo Single Barrel
And now for something completely different. After the heavily sherried Longmorn and the pleasantly strange Glen Garioch, sample 3 of the Blind Tasting Competition is a change of pace. I have a feeling that this one is from a fairly unknown distillery.
The Balvenie 15yo Single Barrel (47,8%, OB, C#214)
Nose: Ripe banana, pear and citrus. Rather strong on the alcohol it seems, but I think that’s just appearances in this case. Some malt, grain and cereal as well as a nice dose of vanilla. A bit of cookie dough maybe. And do I detect a light soapiness?
Taste: Creamy with vanilla, melon and green fruits. Very bitter (pink grapefruit) and a bit dirty as well. There is some sharpness. Let’s say it has some rough edges.
Finish: Too short to really comment on. I’m not kidding.
Yeah well, this just isn’t really good. I’m thinking this is one of those Speyside distilleries that mainly makes blend fodder. I guessed Allt-a-Bhainne. I recently tasted one that (albeit much better) reminded me of this one, especially with the sharpness, bitterness and citrus. For age I went with 17 years and the abv I submitted as 54 percent. It smelled and tasted higher, but that was the case with the earlier Allt-a-Bhainne I tasted, and that one was just over fifty percent.
So did I do well? Scoring wise I did okay: 20 points for the region and 20 for the age. I’m now in second place even 🙂 But I never ever thought of The Balvenie, plus to me it tasted and smelled like it had a much higher abv.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.