Whisky Review – The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

The Balvenie 12 YO Single Barrel

T-shirts, movies, books, music, and the occasional gadget. That’s what I usually get from Mrs. G-LO and The Boys as Christmas, birthday, and Father’s Day presents. While I always ask for a bottle or two of booze (for research purposes only of course!), for whatever reason, Mrs. G-LO has been reluctant to get me what I really want.

It looks like my luck finally changed…

I have always considered 13 to by my lucky number, so I am happy to report that for Father’s Day ’13, Mrs. G-LO finally listened to me! I sent her a list of 7 or 8 different whiskies that I was curious to try (several of which were also on this list on the Dramatic Whisky blog), and she decided to buy me a bottle of The Balvenie’s 12 Year Old Single Barrel that you see in the above photo. Happy Father’s Day indeed!

Below is a bit of information about this expression taken directly from The Balvenie website:

New for 2013, this Single Barrel expression from The Balvenie has been aged for 12 years in a first fill Bourbon cask of a single distillation. While each cask is subtly different, The Balvenie Malt Master hand selects only those casks characterized by sweetness and subtle vanilla oak to be bottled as The Balvenie Single Barrel. Each bottling forms a limited edition of no more than 300 hand-numbered bottles drawn from a single cask, making each bottle unique and unrepeatable.

And now for my impressions of this whisky…

  • Appearance: Pale copper color.
  • Aroma: There’s a really nice combination of sweet and spicy scents coming off of this one. Vanilla, cinnamon, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, a hint of clove, and a touch of brown sugar.
  • Taste: Vanilla and cinnamon is front and center at the onset, with all of the flavors concentrated on the front third of my tongue. The baking spices intensify at mid-palate with some clove and brown sugar coming through. Lightly sweet and spicy finish with a touch of roasted hazelnut showing up as well. The flavors linger for at least a minute or two.
  • ABV: 47.8%

Back in December of last year, we reviewed The Balvenie’s DoubleWood 17. While we definitely enjoyed the whisky, we couldn’t help but think that it would have been even better if it were bottled at a higher ABV, since at 43% ABV, we found it to be a bit too mellow for our taste. When I first heard that The Balvenie was releasing a 12 Year Old Single Barrel at an ABV that is marginally higher than their mostly standard 43%, I was instantly intrigued. Thankfully, The Balvenie’s 12 Year Old Single Barrel did not disappoint. What I really like about this particular expression is that The Balvenie is essentially allowing their true distillery character to shine through without the use of a finishing cask (as they did with their 15 Year Old Single Barrel which is also well worth trying). This was a delicious dram from start to finish.

3 replies »

  1. Something familiar this way pours……….

    That was a very solid single malt. I went through a short Double Wood (No Jewish jokes) phase about 10 years ago before Lagavulin staked claim to my scotch pallet. There were a few I prefered during the quick and dirty whiskey roadshow you put on at my research and couching facility the other night but I’d gladly settle in with this one quite often.

    And I didn’t feel as though I needed to don the fake French cuffs at any time during the dram.



    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. I thought it made a good stepping stone from the corn/wheat/rye based spirits of the good ole US of A to the malted based barley spirits of Scotland and beyond. A solid dram for sure! And considering that I was wearing my freebie Phillies shirt, I think you were just fine sand faux French cuffs. Now if we could only keep the ladies on topic for more than a minute or two….


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