One of the best things about visiting a distillery for me is the chance to try whisky direct from the cask, it gives you that feeling that your part of something special, then when you get the chance to bottle whisky from the cask it just makes it all that bit more special.. These days more and more distilleries offer you the chance to ” bottle your own” and one of my favourite places to do this is of course Balvenie.. They generally offer 3 casks, a first fill bourbon, re fill bourbon and a sherry cask ( generally first fill ) This is done with the aid of a small copper dog and of course the watchful eyes just to make sure the whisky goes in the bottle and not smuggled out like the olden days (ok I’m kidding about the watchful eyes) but this really is a great feeling and just gives you another unique insight into the distillery..
Todays review is one of the bottles I filled last year (2016) while visiting Balvenie on my yearly pilgrimage to Speyside, as I generally get a few bottles from each cask then I will at some point get round to the other two but for today I will concentrate on the Balvenie first fill bourbon cask. This was from Barrel #5997 and has an abv of 61.3% with an age statement of 14 years old.. This is of course NCF and is natural colour..
Nose.. A barrage of Vanilla, caramel and toffee just hits you all at once, a little oak along with spices, and digestive biscuits just seem to gently take control..
Palate.. This is a spicy little beast ! Those spices really do insist on being noticed along with the oak, eventually the sweetness starts to get a little attention with Vanilla, honey and caramel, a little toffee and soft fruits all wanting their turn to be noticed.
Finish.. Insanely spicy..
Thoughts.. This is a real lively beast with big bold spices and lovely soft fruit notes but it does need a little water ( yes you heard right !! I admit it needs water ) Once the water is added it calms down a little with more of the sweetness and fresh fruits getting time to shine.. A superb single cask whisky with two sides.. If you get the chance to visit then make sure you get at least one of the casks as they really do give you a little extra..
I know David Stewart always says the 2nd fill casks always showcase the distillery profile the best but this Balvenie first fill really does shout out Balvenie !!
Balvenie First Fill – Bottle your own.