Well, it was about time this bottle’s cherry was popped. And tonight was the night.
Judging from the bottle alone it looks like something from the 19th century, but of course that’s not the case. Well, at least partially. Balvenie has been around since the end of the 19th century, to be precise and if I’m not mistaken it was in 1892 when the malting games began for this distillery. Ironically enough, they have some ties to a another fairly well known, world renowned distillery by the name of “Glenfiddich”.
So, before I post a quick review lets get a couple things out of the way. I like castles, and since this story conveniently has ties to them, I’ll use the opportunity to post a photo of one that goes by the name of Balvenie just by chance.
Onward we go. Balvenie castle is just a few quick steps away from the Glenfiddich distillery and just up the road from that sits the Balvenie distillery all owned by William Grant & Sons (Speyside region)
Story goes, William Grant bought the land near the castle in 1886 and by 1982 turned it into his very own malting grounds. In the same year the first distillation took place and to this day the distillery still grows its own barley in the fields.
To sum up this scotch in one word would be fairly easy: bitter. But that’s just being foolish. At first, one may think thats all there is to be offered, but stay with it and you’ll be rewarded with quite a different expression to what you’re generally used too. (I know I was)
The nose consists of loads of fruit and floral teases, such as apples and oranges, hints of lemon and what not. Let it breathe out and you get leather and sherry. Mmmmm, leather.
Taste wise however its a whole different ballgame. We get hit with a shitload of sour and bitter flavors reminiscent of nuts, herbs, charred wood and what we once enjoyed in the nose is non apparent here. Where did my typical Speyside go?
Ending it off we’re left with a very dry and woody oak finish that doesn’t’ sweeten up with time. Instead, it just solidifies itself as a bitter, sour, dry dram. But…
Am I complaining? Nope. Just not used to such a radical change from what I usually drink. In time though, I can see this one possibly getting a little sweeter, and maybe even more enjoyable.