Balvenie is a brilliant distillery, and that is no secret. I find myself enjoying most of its OB releases very much, and it’s always nice to try an independent bottling from the distillery. Of course, Balvenie does not approve of bottling its casks by IBs under their name, so those casks need to be teaspooned (meaning we add a tiny amount of another malt to the cask making it a blended malt which can not be then labeled as Balvenie), and released under different aliases and labels, this time a “burnside” released by Maltbarn. a very nice cask laid in 1989 and bottled in 2014 which makes it 25 years old. I first tasted it a few weeks back during a nice whisky session with a friend (it was a tough competition with a 45 year old Glenglassugh and an 1977 Karuizawa!) but I kept a sample handy to try a few days later, to fully appreciate this dram, as I loved it from first sight.
Burnside 25 yo 1989 50,9% abv , Maltbarn 2014, bourbon cask, 167 btl.burnside-1989-maltbarnNose: Oh la la. let the party begin! That’s a great opening: big wood effect over here. With a nice mélange of aromas: deep Mānuka honey, a certain waxy feeling too. there’s also some fruit, of course : pear and freshly picked berries , vanilla and dried coconut , and that lovely wood varnish dominating the scene. My kind of nose. I am a sucker for that wood. you know it by now…
Palate : Thick and luscious. With sweet apricot dipped in honey, lovely wood and varnish, vanilla and oak with a peppery tang. Underneath you get rich sweet plum and some crushed nuts and some dates.I’m getting quite a bit of the beeswax here too, which is lovely.
Finish: Honey and pollen, pepper and wood. Apples and bitter cocoa.
In short : I want a bottle of this.
This, my friends, is a cracking dram. A great example of a superb ex-bourbon cask, and a demonstration of why I love the Balvenie so much. It’s a dram you can sit with a long time.. It’s complex, and it’s big, and it’s enjoyable. It’s just my kind of whisky.