Monday, January 28, 2019

Whisky Review: Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask

As with many of Balvenie's cask experiments, the original version was an older release at 17 years old. Subsequently it was reformulated at a younger age and became part of the distillery's regular lineup.

This whisky begins its life in ex-bourbon casks, is transferred to ex-rum casks for an indeterminate amount of time, then proofed down to 43% for bottling with coloring and chill filtration.

I purchased this sample from Whiskysite.

Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask

Nose: fresh malt, nougat, vanilla, mild dusty funk, raspberries with powdered sugar, light oak, dried flowers, cinnamon and nutmeg. After adding a few drops of water the spices are amplified and it gets rum-ier overall.

Taste: a fairly standard Balvenie profile with a solid but not overwhelming overlay of funkier rum - opens with moderate creamy sweetness with honey, hints of berries on top in the middle, then shifts more towards bittersweet at the back as the oak tannins and spices arrive. After dilution it becomes smoother and more rum-driven with a more bittersweet profile overall.

Finish: light - malt, rum, a little bit of oak

Somewhat surprisingly, this isn't an overly sweet whisky. While there's no indication exactly what kinds of rum casks were used for this finish, I wouldn't be shocked if the distillery is sourcing some from Jamaica or another area known for high ester rums as I get some of that funk in the aromas. The flavors are less complex, but still pull off a respectable balance. If anything this reminds me of a less sweet Glenmorangie Lasanta, as I get the same kind of nougat notes throughout it. I'd be curious to try the higher strength Golden Cask version, which might have had more heft.

Overall, while this is decent the sample doesn't make me want more. I wouldn't turn down a glass if it was offered, but it's not enough to get me to buy a whole bottle.

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