The Balvenie is the distillery most responsible for my whisky fandom. As a newcomer to the whisky world, it was the brand that gave me my first “lightbulb” moment when I tried the 12 Year Doublewood for the first time. As a seasoned veteran, I continue to appreciate the subtleties that make these whiskies so special based on a variety of cask types, finishes, and ages. As a tourist, I was able to visit the distillery and understand first-hand the craftsmanship that goes into producing it. I have not only bonded with other enthusiasts around the world over this brand, but I am also lucky enough to have befriended many of the technicians, distillery workers, and brand ambassadors that make up the Balvenie team. I’m told that I’m one of two people to have ever been gifted an active, production-used Balvenie barrel that just happens to be from my birth year (there’s quite a story behind exactly which barrel this is but I can’t share ALL my secrets).
What it is about this particular distillery that checks all the right boxes for me? It all starts with the flavor profile itself. After all, you don’t become a fan of a brand if you don’t like the way it tastes. The typical Balvenie house style results in a whisky that features notes of heavy honey and orange citrus. You’ll often also find floral notes, fresh mint, and tropical fruit, but that honey citrus base is readily apparent in almost every Balvenie out there. The end result is a whisky that does really well with experimentation. Sherry cask influence? No problem. Chocolate and nutty notes from a port finish? It works great. Even a small bit of peat simply works with the house style flavors. At 10 years old, 25 years old, and even 50 years old, there’s absolutely no mistaking this brand once you take that first sip.
The Balvenie also released my favorite limited edition whisky range of all time: Tun 1401. I was an active consumer before the series was discontinued and as such, was able to acquire many bottles at or below the already undervalued MSRP. Tun 1401 was an opportunity for the Balvenie to move some really old stock in a very small batch format (fewer than 15 casks in each batch). The 9 official batches remain among some of my favorite whiskies of all time and with good reason. In speaking with Malt Master and living legend David Stewart M.B.E. at an event a few years ago, I also confirmed that I’m the only person to ever taste through the entire Tun 1401 range in a blind format.
Please enjoy the most comprehensive Balvenie guide on the Internet. Below, you’ll find every Balvenie review, guide, and experiment I have published thus far and plenty of new content is being added regularly. Happy reading!
|Age||Expression||Strength||My Rating||Review Link|
|10||Founder's Reserve||43%||--||Coming Soon|
|12||Single Barrel First Fill||47.8%||83||Review|
|12||"The Sweet Toast of American Oak"||43%||88||Review|
|12||Triple Cask||40%||--||Coming Soon|
|14||"The Week of Peat"||48.3%||85||Review|
|15||Single Barrel (Refill Ex-Bourbon)||47.8%||91||Review|
|15||Single Barrel (Sherry Cask)||47.8%||91||Review|
|15||Single Barrel Proportions Experiment||47.8%||N/A||Review|
|17||New Oak||43%||--||Coming Soon|
|19||"The Edge of Burnhead Wood"||48.7%||93||Review|
|25||Single Barrel (Refill Ex-Bourbon)||47.8%||93||Review|
|26||A Day of Dark Barley||47.8%||91||Review|
|40||40 Year||48.5%||--||Coming Soon|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 1||48.1%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 2||50.6%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 3||50.3%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 4||50.4%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 5||50.1%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 6||49.8%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 7||49.2%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 8||50.2%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1401 Batch 9||49.3%||--||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1509 Batch 1||47.1%||93||Review|
|NAS||Tun 1509 Batch 4||51.7%||--||Review|