This special edition, released in 2013, no more than three hundred bottles from the same cask, is one of the most coveted Balvenie malts. Aged for twelve years in first-fill Bourbon barrels, the malt’s richness brings a smile to your face. The youngest expression of the distillery’s Single Barrel collection; this is not an entry-level expression; it stands on its own merits.
A wonderful sweetness reminiscent of charred-oak vanilla and acacia honey comes forward, followed by cereal, biscuit, roasted almonds and baked apples in such a harmonious way! If this expression comes from a single barrel, that was a fabulous barrel.
A creamy palate with intense vanilla paste flavors with syrupy, honey-like smoothness, subtle sandalwood and sweet smoke reveal themselves in the mid-palate. The first-fill Bourbon barrels really did the trick here; they amped-up an already succulent malt, adding spices and vanilla to round the experience.
The taste of honey, almost maple-like, along with vanilla paste, is what remains after the roller coaster of rich flavors. Like liquid gold, this relatively young malt much more complex than your average 12-year-old single malt.
Sip or skip?
The Balvenie is a guarantee for quality. They’re seriously committed to their craft, growing their own barley, malting it on-site and having their own team of coopers. The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel reflects all this — it’s just perfect. Although the 15-year-old Single Barrel came first, this younger expression is equally impressive.
Other Balvenie expressions to try
After the 12YO expression, The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 is the next obvious step. The same passion and crafty spirit make both single malts extraordinary expressions. It’s hard to understand why other distilleries are not capitalizing on the single barrel trend; these are unique expressions you might want to start collecting.