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Drink Review: Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask

Balvenie haven’t often released fully sherry matured whisky and we’re very pleased to welcome the 15yo Single Barrel Sherry Cask to the range. Each bottle is part of a batch of only a few hundred, each filled from a single cask. Every batch will vary a little, but all will show off the great combination of Balvenie’s spirit and rich sherry oak.

Balvenie 15 Sherry Review:

The nose is reserved at first, but develops rather than bursts out, with the sherry delivering the dominant note. The sherry is there, notes of raisin, a touch of dried fruit too.The Sherry cask seems to bring brightness, freshness and a touch of oyster shell to the nose.

The taste is slightly sherried, rather than a fully flame toasted sherry, but the malt is absolutely present, there’s a good combination of slightly salty sherry, together with some fruit sweetness.

You get a little more oomph than the nose suggested, but the fruit sweetness remains. It’s a moderate strength, but the interaction of the malt and the sherry doesn’t make it as sweet as some other sherried whiskies.

The finish is long and complex, warming, sweet, salty, spicy. It’s a bit of a tease. Those who love sherried whiskies will love the depth that this delivers, those who lean towards non-sherried whiskies may be pleasantly surprised and those who don’t have a preference will find this a very enjoyable and interesting whisky.

After tasting for almost 40 minutes, the nose was still alive and lively with a lot of the scents developing, particularly sherry, but with the fruit coming across really well and the sweetness developing. The taste was complex with a lot to be had. The finish felt long with a lot of spice and a bit of sweetness, there’s the salt coming through. The oak is rather lighter here.

The sherry cask really does bring a lot to the party, it’s salty, drinkable, and full of flavour, a real nod to the malt. I think the Light, Oaked version is a stronger whisky than this, but in true Balvenie style this is no one-trick pony.

Balvenie 15 Sherry Review 1:

Nose: The Balvenie 15 Sherry is quite dry, there’s a medium amount of peat, with hints of oaked fruits and grapefruit. The woody, sherry and oak comes up, with definite mineral. The spirit is separated, with the fruit overtones far more pronounced than the oaked character. This is very dry, with no sweetness evident, and it’s quite peaty, with some smokiness reminding me of Laphroaig.

Taste: The bitterness of the spirit comes up, but there’s a real burst of fruit, and some genuine, sweeter, smoky and smoky. I can’t describe it precisely, but it reminds me of a combination of peat, oaked fruitsiness, sherry and a touch of chocolate. It’s good, but it’s also a bit of a monster.

Finish: A little woody, but not too much, the fruit from the nose is there, with a slightly dry finish, there’s a good heat and a satisfying amount of peat. The sherry and oak flavours come up as you’d expect, but they’re not as smooth and expansive as I’d have hoped for.

Balvenie 15 Sherry Review 2: 

Nose: The Balvenie 15 Sherry is weedy and light, with a yoghurty sherry note. Dark fruits, chocolate, with definite oak and wood. The spirit is sweet and not too thin, with the wood very light and carrying the woody notes. The spirit develops and the richness and thickness that’s needed.

Taste: There’s a lot of sweetness, with coconut and the alcohol quite well to the fore. The coconut recedes initially, and the sweetness is very drinkable. There’s a good wood note, but it’s a lot sweeter than what I’d like to see. The wood develops and there’s a certain caramel sweetness to it. The coconut returns later, and the whole thing becomes a bit darker.

Finish: There’s a full and complex flavour, with a strong minty note, a sherry sweetness and the wood notes. It’s a touch watery, and the finish is quite short and sweet. The woody notes build well and the sherry persists.

Balvenie 15 Sherry Review 3: 

Nose: The Balvenie 15 Sherry is highly weedy, with traces of fruit sherry and a very light charred wood. There’s a touch of brine, but the fruit is clear. The spirit isn’t very thick, and the sweetness is very apparent.

Taste: The sherry is more pronounced, there’s some seafood, with some blackberry, and a dark fruitiness, with a sweet, oaky undertone. The spirit is a bit thin and sweet, without any bite at all. There’s a slight bitterness, but it’s not very unpleasant. The finish is short.

Finish: Not very interesting, really, with just a touch of mint. It’s sweet, but it’s short and simple. I wasn’t sure what to expect, to be honest. I’m not the biggest fan of robust, sweet the Balvenie 15 Sherry is, but the overall result is very drinkable and tasty, and there’s enough complexity to give it interest.

Balvenie 15 Sherry Review 4:

Nose: The Balvenie 15 Sherry is rather weedy, but with a hint of mud, a little like Lagavulin. There’s bitter wood somewhere, with a touch of raisin, a blackberry note, and a bit more fruit from the sherry.

Written by Mark Adams

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