So, after all of those Balvenies, where do we stand?
Honestly, almost exactly where I was before. While I often find that whiskies I tried near the beginning of my experiences hit me quite differently now, Balvenie has remained pretty much where it was when I started. They make good whisky, but not for me. And definitely not for my wallet.
All in all, I can't say that I blame them. I find the results disappointing in much the same way that I find Bowmore disappointing - there's no question that the distillery produces top-notch spirit, but because of their customer base is just fine with the status quo, most of what we get is watered down. I mean, even the higher strength releases are still proofed down well below 50%, so we're not getting to see what their spirit can be like with some real heft.
In my ideal world we'd get something like their sister distillery Glenfiddich's 15 Year Distillery Edition - a blend of bourbon and sherry casks at higher proof and a respectable price. I'm perfectly happy being tossed a bone, even if the rest of the lineup isn't for me. But with most of Balvenie's similarly aged and lower proof releases coming out over $100, I'm not about to hold my breath.
Ultimately, I will just have to keep looking elsewhere for my gentle Speyside fix. Thankfully there are any number of other distilleries in the region that can tickle that fancy without costing me an arm and a leg.
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