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.
Wonjo Agujjim (Seoul, March 2023)
4 hours ago
Hi, I have been greatly enjoying your blog. I am surprised to see that many of my evaluations of whisky closely align with yours. I am intrigued, what whiskies satisfy your gentle speyside fix?ReplyDelete
In terms of readily available bottles, Glenfarclas probably tops my list. Aberlour at 43% would also do the trick. AnCnoc 12 Year.Delete
When it comes to IBs, I lean towards more characterful Speysiders from Linkwood, Benrinnes, and Dailuaine, though those are obviously a little more hit or miss in character. Signatory's Vintage line is usually a good bet since they tend to be refill casks with a good bit of age at 43%, so they're usually pretty mellow.