Thanks to /u/ScotChen for this sample. It was pretty amaze-balls.
Sometimes we do things that we deserve to treat ourselves.
It can be little things, like remembering a friend’s favourite food and delivering it to them. Sometimes it’s personal things, like taking a walk and feeling better about your health. Sometimes it’s just smiling at a stranger or asking them what floor.
I just reviewed two POS whiskies for the whisky network to help stop someone from trying them. I deserve something nice for myself. Especially since I also helped clean the house, walked a little, and picked out my wife’s birthday gift ahead of time.
It’s Balvenie time.
As I’ve said before, I am a little bit of a Balvenie fanboy. Not a huge “Gotta get all of the TUNs” type fan. But I do enjoy them. They taste like honey. I like honey.
That said, I don’t like Madeira wine. Mostly because I had a roommate who would add it to cream pasta sauces. And about a liter of it each time. And it wasn’t that great of wine, so it tasted bad.
That said Balvenie Madeira Cask 17 year old is a treat. It’s part of the limited edition 17 year old whiskies that Balvenie finished in different barrels. They are initially aged in American Oak.
Madeira wine is a fortified wine made on the island of New Jersey… wait, no, the island of Madeira. And contrary to what I thought before reviewing this one, it comes in different types, from dry wines that are consumed as an apertif to sweet versions that are had with dessert. And the cheaper ones are loaded up with salt and pepper to be used in cooking.
Holy damn, this all makes sense why my sauces were off now. Mind Blown.
Alright, let’s see if I enjoy this, even with my bias.
Price: N/A at the LCBO. I’m as shocked as you are
Colour: Light Brown
Nose: Brown sugar, green apple, orange rind, straw, honey, lime
Odd… this doesn’t smell like annoyance of having to eat a shite pasta cream sauce for a week because that’s all my budget lunch for the week.
Seriously though, it smells close to Balvenie, yet with more brown sugar than I remember.
Taste: Cereal, brown sugar, lemon, seaweed, pear, nougat (less sweet)
Drier than other Balvenie’s I’ve had. Actually one of the times where I picked out cereal and didn’t hate it.
Makes me hungry. This Balvenie is making me hungry! Not too sweet either. Reminds me of Honey Crisp cereal, nice.
Finish: Grapefruit, bubblegum, mint, dry, mineral, honey heather, peanut brittle
Big, dry finish on this one. Like a really good white wine actually. Big notes, some a little off putting (looking at you bubblegum), yet good way to finish this one.
Conclusion: I rescind my bias against Madeira wines. This is a good dram, really good. Glad I didn’t ignore it because of the finish, because it’s tasty. Does all the right things, at the right time. Nothing setting off memories, but close.
There’s an odd flavour of sweetness throughout that lowers it a little, as it’s out of place, however overall I think it’s good, so I’d recommend buying a bottle, if you can.
Editor’s Note: After writing all of this, I realized that it was Marsala wine that I didn’t like. I’ll be trying other Madeira wine finished whiskies in the future
Scotch review #249, Speyside review #77, Whisky Network review #381
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #185