REVIEW — The Balvenie 14-Year Caribbean Cask

February 14, 2011 — The Balvenie 14-Year Caribbean Cask

The Depot Theater Company production of “The Woman in Black” opened this past weekend in beautiful downtown Dodge City. It’s tradition in theater to receive opening night flowers. However, neither my wife nor I are particular fans of flowers. They die and make a mess. So, proving that my wife knows me as well as anyone else in this world got me this instead:

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. I got opening night scotch. My wife loves me.

From the original presse release from August, 2010 when this particular scotch was released:

“After a 14 year maturation period in traditional oak whisky casks, the Balvenie is then transferred to the rum casks, leading to an exceptional Single Malt that exemplifies the signature smooth, honeyed character of the Balvenie, while adding unique notes of toffee and fruit that come from its innovative cask finish.

The outstanding quality of The Balvenie is a result of the unique craftsmanship retained by The Balvenie Distillery. Nowhere else is there a distillery that still grows its own barley, malts in its own traditional floor malting, employs a team of coopers to tend its casks, a coppersmith to maintain its stills and has in its service David Stewart, the most experienced Malt Master in Scotland, whose innovative approach to cask finishing has set a new standard in Single Malts.

Said Stewart of this new release, ‘We’ve found that many years maturation in traditional oak whisky casks followed by a few months of rum cask maturation complements The Balvenie single malt very well, and this expression is a beautifully rounded 14-year-old whisky that combines traditional Balvenie vanilla notes with rich toffee, a hint of fruit and a warm, lingering finish.'”

But, how is it? The simple answer: delicious. But I feel the need to do this properly.

The smell off the top is very sweet, but still that standard smokey bite you can expect from a Speyside. Tasted neat, there is very little smoke nor bite. You can tell there was some time spent in a rum cask, with the fruity, sugary flavor right on the end. Served over the rocks it is beyond excellent. As the water slowly melts into the scotch, you have an almost dangerously smooth scotch that keeps the distinct flavors intact without too much of an unpleasant bite.

The Caribbean Casks retails between $50 and $60 a bottle, so it’s not a “drink every single night” kind of scotch. Perfect for a cool yet warm winter night. Unfortunately, this is Valentine’s Day and my Valentine happens to be Dallas, TX for the week. Alas. This one is for her.

— Mark


  1. Though I only had a small sample of this back in October, it made a lasting impression on me, and I have recommended it to several friends. Great great whisky!


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