It’s no secret that I enjoy Balvenie. Given my predilection towards honey it’s a given.
Which is odd, because Balvenie tends to not show up in IBs (which I mostly purchase), usually don’t have higher abv (which I tend towards) nor do I typically have the chance to have many Balvenies (as the special releases have recently hit cost levels that I can’t afford).
But damn do I like honey. Enter Balvenie Speyside 30 1989 Le Gus’t Selection XXIV, an independently bottled whisky that was teaspooned and labeled as a Speyside. Since then the internet has concluded it’s a Balvenie. Who am I to argue? Certainly not a reviewer known for pop culture mentions and writing overtly rambling reviews.
Which reminds me: Take care of yourself out there. It’s been a tough couple years and it’s only getting tougher.
So we have a 30-year-old Fino sherry butt matured whisky. It’s been teaspooned and thus some places will correctly call it a Blended Malt. And I’ll just be wrong and leave that out.
The previous Balvenie I had that was similar in circumstances didn’t rock my world, and I was sad about that. Let’s see if this one makes up for it, shall we?
Price: € 399
Cask Type: Fino Butt
Cask number 1852
Number of bottles 285
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Guava, lime sorbet, dark honey, algae, being in a field of flowers
Fuck you, that last note is the best way I can explain the sheer amount of floral and grass.
Perhaps that was too harsh. But damn there’s a ton of strong honey, grassy, and floral notes. Add in some vegetal notes, some light citrus, and some tropical notes, and you’ve got a whisky going.
Very nice nose. Shows off the malt that I love from Balvenie.
Taste: Burnt honey, almond, cloves, butter/flaky pastry, nectarine/pineapple
More honey, more nuttiness, more butter. And that’s just what I scream at myself while figuring out what to eat. Ignoring the voices in my head, this whisky fits my ego’s desire to eat as much sugar as possible so that I mate before a lion eats me.
Stupid brain not evolving for 10,000 years.
Good fruit, strong butter notes, and a complex honey note: What else would you want?
Finish: Mineral, brown sugar, Triscuits, cloves, treacle, gingersnaps
Long finish. While I feel the finish went hard to caramel notes and lost some of the floral, it really, really does spice and sugar and cereal well.
Conclusion: Basically the best baklava you’ll have unless it’s from your yia-yia then malaka nothing is going to compete with that and it’s the second best. Nothing beats yia-yia’s. Maybe. Probably.
Honey, floral, and very complex. When people ask me what Balvenie sells me on, it’s that. Yes, it’s not there all the time. Yes it costs a lot to try it. Yes it’s like Macallan without silly marketing but still with the high price and the “smooth” labels.
But when they nail it? When someone takes it away, it’s a single cask, and it’s good? It’s great. You get it. It’s flavours that are beloved (in some Euro diets). Try this if you get a chance, because if it did have the name of the distillery on it, it’d cost $10,000 (not a joke).
Scotch review #1411, Speyside review #397, Whisky Network review #2091