Saturday, 20 September 2008

Balvenie Distillery

Balvenie Distillery
Banffshire AB55 ADH

Speyside, Scotland - Active

Flavour profile

I would consider Balvenie the quintessential Speyside - sweet, fruity, and not too heavy (but not too light either). For me, it's a benchmark malt, what I measure other Speysides against.

Balvenie is quite fruity, with lots of oranges (this seems to be consensus) and apricots (not really consensus). I think it's also got a fair bit of vanilla, although this flavour element is quite unobstrusive and is usually underlying the fruit. It's pretty ubiquitous though. There are lots of caramel notes going on too (do they add caramel to their official bottlings?) - caramel itself, dulce de leche, butterscotch, in the Wordle below.

All the Balvenies I've tasted so far are here.

Balvenie 12 yo Double Wood - good
Balvenie 15 yo Single Cask 1990/2006 - good
Balvenie 21 yo Port Wood - good

Distillery history

Founded in 1892, by William Grant. It was originally supposed to be called Glen Gordon. It's still owned by William Grant today. It's never been silent, according to the information I have.

The original 2 stills were added to in 1957, again in 1965 and again in 1971. An entirely new distillery, Kininvie, was constructed on Balvenie's premises in 1990. This distillery supplies malt for the Grant's blends, freeing up more Balvenie malt for bottling as single malt. There are many official bottlings, with the 12 yo DoubleWood the most popular.

Potted distillery facts

Water source: Springs from the Conval Hills
Ten, Oregon pine, 50,000 litres each
Wash stills:
Four, reflux bowls neck, 2 are 12,729 litres each, 2 are 9,092 litres each
Spirit stills: Five, reflux bowls neck, 12,729 litres each
Spirit still Lyne arm: nothing unusual
Production per year:
5,000,000 litres a year

- The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, Misako Udo

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