The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask Scotch Review

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By Kurt Maitland

Rating: B+

Balvenie 15YO Single Barrel Sherry Cask

The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year Old Sherry Cask
(Credit: Kurt Maitland)

This Balvenie expression is matured for at least 15 years in a European oak sherry butt, and not to be confused with The Balvenie’s standard Single Barrel 15 Year Old, which are aged in ex-bourbon barrels rather than former sherry butts. The former release is something I will tackle another day.

No more than 650 of these hand-numbered bottles are drawn from each sherry butt, and as these are single barrel releases, each barrel brings its own personality to the table. The bottle in my possession, 47.8% abv, is from cask number 16,268, and the is bottle number 432.

The Scotch
Color: Burnt umbra.
Nose: Stewed raisins, a hint of cherries, almonds.
Taste: Full of fruit but with a slight nutty element, it has a hint of cooking spice in the middle but this spice continues to blossoms into white pepper. I thought it would turn dry quickly due to the 15 years in a sherry cask but no. It holds off on the astringency until after the pepper explosion. The mouthfeel is rich and silky, slowly turning dry with a long, spicy finish. Add a little water, and it becomes a bit sweeter and little slicker at first, then a diminished peppery finish comes on quicker but lasts almost as long.
Finish: As mentioned above, this expression has a long finish, going from fruity sweetness to peppery spicy before you finally get the sherry dryness that one expects from 15 yrs in a Sherry Cask.

What can I say, I’m a sucker for a single barrel. For me, they are releases to be treasured whenever possible. They are essentially snowflakes that you may never taste again.

The Price
This release runs around $100, but prices fluctuate. If you can get any of these at that price, I recommend you do so. Snowflakes have a limited shelf life, as do single barrels. In the UK, expect to pay £72.

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2 comments

  1. Do you know where to find any of the Balvenie 15 yr that is not the sherry cask?

    Ive been looking everywhere and my last btl is almost gone

    Thanks for the help

    • Your best bet it to either ask your favorite liquor store owner to order some for you or to go to an online retailer (internationally if needs be).

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