The Balvenie does it again. This time, finishing a warm and comforting 14-year-old malt in American oak ex-Caribbean rum casks. The result is a superbly smooth blend dominated by fruit, vanilla, caramel and warm spices. This expression is still distinctively Balvenie, with its signature richness and warmth.
Is that orange, apple, peach and hints of coconut and banana? What a lovely tropical nose. The underlying honeyed sweetness infused with vanilla. The rum casks bring to the table warm spices — allspice, cassia cinnamon, black pepper and clove.
Creamy and silky coating and unctuous, this is a thick, concentrated malt with immense depth. It’s still fresh and lively thanks to bright fruit flavors balancing the caramel, toffee and brown spices in the black-palate. For a 14-year-old, this expression is incredibly nuanced and complex.
What persists the most with a medium to long finish is the vanilla and the spice mix over fading honey flavors. The aftertaste is inviting and lively. This is a very complex malt for its age but still retains fruit freshness, nicely combined with the cask’s influence.
Sip or skip?
If someone knows how to ‘finish’ whisky in lesser-used casks is Malt Master David C. Stewart, that’s what he does best. Time and again, he’s managed to take the already delicious Balvenie malt and turn it into something special. This makes the Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 a must buy. Rum casks are largely unappreciated, but they give a fantastic tropical personality to Scotch.
Other Balvenie expressions to try
The Balvenie PortWood 21 Year Old, although with a completely different flavor profile, is another example of Balvenie’s mastery in finishing malts in exotic casks. This time in port pipes that add black fruit to the rich, nutty expression.