Blind Tasting Competition 3: Balvenie Single Cask #214, 15yo, 1999-2014, 47.8%

Finally I got some points with my guessing! Yesterday and the day before I got some kudos for guessing the right region, today I got it for that, some for age and two more points for ABV.

I think they have picked this Balvenie single cask because it doesn’t taste like Balvenie. It’s an interesting pick, and an unexpected one. But hey, I’m getting off to a way better start than last year, so I’m a happy camper!

Balvenie 15 Single Barrel. Image from Whiskybase

Balvenie 15 Single Barrel. Image from Whiskybase

A very timid nose at first, with some minor woody notes and a bit of a dusty attic. After a couple seconds some lemon pops up. The total lack of burn says we’re much lower in ABV than we were yesterday. Quite watery, with maybe some minerals in the background. Basalt or slate or so. Minor hints of straw too. The drawback is that they’re all minor hints.

Not a huge fan as of yet.

The palate is slightly peppery, white pepper I think. Quite dry with some used oak. A hint of apple on the palate and the pepper gets stronger. Slightly musty too. A minor bitter flavor of lemon pith.

The finish has quite some lemon, old papery dust and some refill oak. The peppery notes linger longest and the sudden lemon lasts too.

The general consensus at the moment of tasting was that nobody had a clue what this might be. I’m with that group of tasters, but I have the hugely annoying idea that I know this dram. It somehow tastes familiar, but I can’t pinpoint it.

I wasn’t a fan of this on the nose, and the palate and finish don’t do a lot to rectify that. Of course, there is the reason I’m making an ass of myself by saying this, but let’s keep it at this being a mediocre dram. Still, no clue to what this might be. Funnily, all things that come to mind are Highland whiskies, which this cannot be as per the rules of a region not coming by back to back (except the first Longmorn, since last year’s final dram was a Longmorn too).

I considered this to be Balblair, Old Pulteney, Glencadam, Deanston. All Highland drams. This one really sucks. Not just because I don’t really care about it, but just because it’s hard. In the end I settled on Glen Elgin, because of the minerality and I seemed to remember Glen Elgin tasting something like that. I picked one from Whiskybase that seemed to fit the profile at 16 years old and 46%. That netted me some points at least!

In the end I don’t really like this dram. I’ve somehow never really liked the Balvenie 15 single casks, which seems to a be a staple in so many collections. This one lacked the typical honey profile I associate with Balvenie, but didn’t offer much in return. Weird stuff, this.

Balvenie Single Cask #214, 15yo, 1999-2014, 47.8%. No longer available but had an initial cost of some € 62.50

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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