The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask is a newly-released addition to The Balvenie portfolio. It will replace the traditional oak-matured 15 Year Old Single Barrel — a fine dram, to be sure, but nothing quite as interesting as this new expression. Aged for at least 15 years in Oloroso sherry casks and non-chill filtered, the newcomer is characterized by dried fruit, nuttiness and spice. No more than 650 hand-numbered bottles are drawn from each sherry butt, and each bottle includes the number of the cask in which it was matured.
The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask is the second bottling in the brand’s Single Barrel range. Last year saw the release of the Single Barrel First Fill 12 Year Old, and a third release is expected later this year — a 25 year old single barrel expression.
In the glass, The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask pours a dark mahogany. Dive in and you’ll find aromas of almonds, toffee, figs, dried fruits, chocolate and oak. There’s a lot going on here, and new aromas seem to come through the longer the whisky settles in the glass. Take a sip, and the rich whisky begins with prominent fruit notes like apricots, raisins and cherries, plus more sherried oak, spice and toasted sugar. On the palate it’s thick and grippy, and the long, dry finish closes with fruit and spice.
The Balvenie is onto something here. There’s so much going on with the 15 YO Single Barrel Sherry Cask that it takes a few tastes to really wrap your head around it, but that’s never a bad thing. The balance between fruit and spice is very pleasant. The richness — and the price tag — elevate this one to a luxurious, special occasion dram, but one we’ll find ourselves coming back to often.
– 47.8% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★