The Balvenie 25yo “Single Barrel” 1974/2002 (46.9%, OB, Cask #13282)

A long time ago, between 2000 and 2004, The Balvenie issued a series of single barrel bottlings similar to the 15yo, these bottlings however were much older, these were matured a further 10 years to become the 25yo single casks. All from 1974 (most of them) or 1978. And all at the convenient strength of 46.9% ABV. Who came up with this number anyway? By the way, I couldn’t find a picture of a Balvenie 25yo Cask #13282, so here is a picture of the similar looking cask #10141, that was bottled two years earlier. Most of these 25yo’s were bottled in 2000.

Color: Gold

Nose: Light, buttery, and very accessible. A little old bottle waxiness, but not a lot. Let’s say it’s not a 1972 Caperdonich. Some sugared yellow fruits and hints of banana. Still it does smell like something they don’t make anymore. Also some seaside freshness to this. After some breathing, it does come around a bit, it opens up. More fruit and more dusty ol’ wood. Almost an old Alsatian Gewürztraminer. Nope, this doesn’t lack complexity. Some hints of vanilla (ice-cream). Quite good, but very restraint. This one would have been great to nose at a higher strength. I have to say, that the longer you wait, the better the nose develops and gets more and more character.

Taste: Fruity and old wood again. It has a small initial bite that comes mostly from the oak. Finish is medium body with enough saying power. Vanilla and creamy texture. The fattiness dissipates quickly and the whisky breaks down in towards the finish. Wood attack! put this in your mouth and you think is pretty good (not great alas), but the vanilla fat is stripped, and you get hit by more bitterness than expected. The palate does lack complexity and balance. Aiii.

This starts out pretty good, great nose (eventually) and a great initial taste, but it all turns on you a bit, when the bitterness hits you, and leaves you with an unbalanced finish. To be frank, let this slip and try to locate an old 15yo (50.4% ABV, you’ll get a better deal).

Points: 84

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