husband, father, whisky lover, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society & leading the USBG NJ efforts...currently the New Jersey Whisky Ambassador for Diageo & therefore leave the recent writing duties to guest bloggers, primarily that Bourbon loving fella named Gerard

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask


Environment:

This is a bottle that I purchased in 2011 as I was intrigued.  Knowing the Balvenie and their skills with casks, I was interested in what they could pull off.

The Balvenie Maltmaster and Mastermind, Mr. David Stewart, is gifted and experienced, and from what I hear, an avid Rum lover.  What could be a better marriage than that?

There was a Balvenie Rum Cask released back in 2008 I believe, but I never got to try it.  I think the previous version was actually matured in the cask, not just finished.  I can only imagine that it was wonderfully in line with the excellent products they continue to crank out.  I love that The Balvenie is constantly straying from their ‘core’ line and experimenting with other expressions.  (Port, Sherry, Madeira, Peated)

This one is described as being matured for 14 years in traditional oak whisky casks, and then is transferred to the rum casks to yield something exceptional.  They are right about that.

Tasting Notes

Nose:   Simply wonderful.  Fruits (raisins, and maybe banana?) balanced perfectly with hints of toffee and powerful vanilla.  There is a woody note, but it is not the main event, it just hangs out in the background and leans against the wall.

Palate:  Vanilla comes shining through along with some nuts (almonds/cashews).  There is a buttery spice that has become best friends with the classic Balvenie honeyed flavor that we would expect at this point from a Balvenie.  Hovering above all of this in a pleasant way is the spice of the rum barrels…leaving hints of nutmeg…very refined.

Finish:  Long and soft.  Something sweet (molasses?) and very creamy…very pleasant.

Conclusion

This is just a delight.  Rum finishing is nothing new to the Scotch world, but this is something just a little bit more special.  It is tough to tell, but I wonder if there is more ‘white rum’ than ‘dark rum’ in this.  I really feel like this one has a personality and despite the kaleidoscope of flavors going on still manages to feel ‘fresh’.  It is not overly ‘rummy’ if that is a word, and I think that is what makes its character so exceptional.

Score:  86

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