It has been sometime since we last posted some tasting notes from one of our favourite whisky distilleries: The Balvenie. That said, if there were one dram that we’ve waited to taste, it is this 21-year-old Madeira cask finish expression. We actually tasted the limited edition Balvenie 17-year-old Madeira Cask Finish a few years back but never really got around to post tasting notes on it, for whatever reason. However, when we heard that Balvenie, in partnership with DFS Group, unveiled The Balvenie 21 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish at DFS, Singapore Changi Airport in an event hosted by The Balvenie Global Brand Ambassador, Sam Simmons last year, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.
This special expression was matured in traditional oak whisky casks for more than 20 years, then transferred to casks previously used in the production of fortified Madeira wine for a further period of maturation, lending to its depth in flavour.
On the nose: you’ll experience sweet notes of orange marmalade, followed by a warm waft of toffee, marzipan and vanilla. Notes of raisins, spices and hints of honey start to unfold, alongside a touch of citrus. After a couple of swirls, notes of poached pears, sweet harvested semillon grapes, a hint of Madeira cake, with a welcomed oily note start to emerge. On the palate: those sweet notes of orange marmalade are ever-present, followed by toasted almonds and vanilla. Some delicate spicy notes will start to filter through, followed by cinnamon, hints of sherry, pears and a lovely, creamy, fading caramel note. Rounding-off the palate are some interesting tropical notes, honey and oatmeal. The finish: is long, with some orange sweetness and subtle spices, followed by lingering zest and nuttiness.
The verdict: A very subtle, yet elegant drop from Balvenie. It’s a dram that is rather shy at first and does require a little time and patience before you can really extract its delicate notes. The Madeira cask definitely lends to its lightness and elegance, however, it is perhaps a dram that would’ve benefitted from being bottled at 46%. Bottled at 40% ABV, it is definitely a drop that doesn’t need any water – though if you do need to then only add a very small amount. For me, I found when I left it for a short amount of time to sit in the glass between nosing and tasting – this yielded the best results notes wise.
The Balvenie 21-year-old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be found while on your travels at duty free for approximately £180
For more information on this 21 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish expression, visit the official Balvenie website.