...but this is a Balvenie, with a 99 per cent confidence from my taste buds. It offers the trademark Balvenie profile of rich honeys, fruits and floral notes which is quite unique hence easy recognisable. Given today's price points of 25+years Balvenie original bottlings this IB release is a real bargain (I paid 125 Euro) and I think it is worth its bucks from a drinker's perspective. It is both interesting to explore and very quaffable.
The colour is deep gold and the nose offers a bold and complex profile of lush (different) honeys and ripe fruits in a summer floral setting. This is the characteristic Balvenie nose of older drams that I (and many others) adore. There are waxy, herbal, spicy and earthy (pine needles) aromas too forming an interesting and complex profile which is fun to explore. No off-note or imbalance that I can find - all is just the way it should be. After some breathing the honeys and fruits retreat somewhat and leave the stage for the floral, earthy and spicy wooden notes. Now it smells as if I lie on a bloomy forest glade (You ever did? Try it, it is great!).
The taste is fruity-sugary sweet with spicy wooden notes joining quickly to balance this out. Next is an impressive waxy-resinous attack that I really enjoy - not many drams owns such a strong old-style power. After that some drying bitter tea and tobacco flavours pop up to create a new dimension while the sweetness retreats as it did in the nose. Now this is a trademark old-style taste and I love it! By the way, greatly chewable...
The dram arrives warming and coating on the palate without distracting moments. The finish is medium to long and recreates the fruity and honeyed power of the initial taste which is welcomed after the bitter impressions at the end of the taste. Yes, this drams turns sweeter again - what a nice back-and-forth of the different flavours. No drying or bitter moments during the finish except for a minor cold metals feeling at the very end. Water strengthens the old-style aromas in the nose (waxy, earthy, floral) and smoothes the taste turning it (even) more quaffable. I like to explore the neat dram first but then I enjoy it somewhat reduced to about 45% abv.