By Father John Rayls
William Grant established the Balvenie Distillery in 1892 very near the Glenfiddich Distillery with them both actually sharing the same water source. Balvenie whisky is considered a Speyside Scotch, but its city location of Dufftown is also located in the Highlands of Scotland. In 2009 the political powers that be made the decision through their Whisky Resolutions that Balvenie would be known as a Speyside Scotch. The Balvenie Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years Scotch has been a very popular one and has been reviewed, tested, sampled and consumed by about everyone that could spell the word “scotch”. There are volumes written by untold numbers exploring every nuance of the whisky. My attempt at a review reminds me of Bette Midler’s recent comment concerning one more nude picture of Kim Kardashian on the Internet. Bette suggested that Kim would need to swallow the camera for anyone to see a part of her that hasn’t already been seen. In the same way, it’s difficult to say something new or clever that hasn’t been said a dozen times before. However, I like this scotch and enjoy exploring it.
The Caribbean Cask Scotch has a beautiful burnt gold appearance. The yellow and orange hues separate as the light passes through the glass of whisky giving it an iridescent glow creating a picture of a lightning strike on a pot of gold. The legs are thin and yet very apparent. The nose is easy to pick up and includes aromas of toffee, vanilla, oak and a very light smokiness. On top there are some subtle but distinct notes of pineapple. It’s almost like picking up a whole fresh pineapple and smelling it before cutting into it. You may also sense some very light alcohol burn on the nose.
There is a light creaminess with each mouthful. Most of the initial action is at the back of the mouth and it moves to mid-mouth towards the roof while continuing in the back. The distillery describes the flavor as vanilla, sweet oak and fruitiness and it is completely dead on in its description. There is some very light smokiness, but the vanilla and rum make it very subdued. The activity continues at the back and mid-mouth for some time before beginning to die out and the strong finish takes over. It is a long and pleasant finish. Because of the strong ending, The Balvenie Caribbean Cask drinks like a bigger, more potent scotch. The finish cranks up the whisky experience to a completely different level. In addition, it moves the mouth activity to the front and sides of the tongue and keeps it there before gradually fading out. The whole experience is one that is rich and creamy and satisfying. The finish is driven by a smooth, soft vanilla flavor.
The Balvenie Single Malt Whisky Caribbean Cask Aged 14 Years is a regular offering from Balvenie and (for the most part) is readily available. Here in the States you will find it offered at $65.00 to $85.00 and often sitting on the shelf waiting for your selection. This is an easy drinking scotch that’s enjoyable for regular scotch drinkers, but is particularly easy for those whisky/whiskey drinkers interested in trying some scotch for the first time.