Well, actually the Balvenie 25yo I reviewed earlier, was quite a disappointment. I have another single barrel here, so let’s see if this one is any better… By the way, again I couldn’t find a picture of a Balvenie 25yo Cask #13285, so here is a picture of the similar looking cask #10139
Nose: Waxy, sweet white sherry. A nice old, dried leaves and wood combination in the nose. Again you sense this is an old bottle. Vanilla and lemon freshness. This nose is less complex than cask #13282. The vanilla that’s in here is similar to the vanilla notes I got from Angostura rum 1919. I guess cask #13282 has a more refined nose, but this is equally exciting. More raw and different from the other one. I think this one is better, it is less complex, but has more to it. Wood and almonds come out when you sniff this vigorously, still it is not bad wood. Hot butter and some funky farminess, how’s that for a Balvenie! Lovely oldness to it all.
Taste: Sweet and even slightly acidic, and no heavy wood attack like cask #13282, hurrah. Fatty and mouth coating wax. This one is immediately a lot better. The wood is here and very noticeable. The dry leaves are here too, but this doesn’t attack you with that unrelenting bitterness. This cask has also a lot of wood to it, but the bitterness is held in check. It does lack a bit of complexity though. There isn’t a lot more to it than this. Nice old Balvenie.
Great to try these Balvenies so close together. These are sister casks, but do show quite some difference. It’s not only the bitterness that is obvious. Comparing these two there is infinitely more. That goes to show, how big the differences can be between two similar bottles, and how buying without tasting is so tricky. I would also like to point out that the reduction that obviously took place here isn’t a problem, this Whisky holds the fort. Actually it’s the best Balvenie I had in a very long time. Still no 90’s score though…