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Balvenie Triple Cask, Wasmund’s, The Speyside

This is part of a series sharing tasting notes from a monthly private whisky club in Mumbai, India. This month, we welcomed back an old friend from Singapore who brought something ‘different’ for our sampling pleasure. We also donned traditional garb in honour of the festival season!

Tasting Notes from 17 October 2013

We continued our standard format and blind tasted three samples before revealing the whisky. October featured: Belvenie’s Triple Cask 12 year, Wasmund’s and The Speyside 12 year.

2013-10-17-OakLeague

Balvenie Triple Cask 12 years The colour was a rich golden hue, clearly not light straw but also not deep either. For the notes, we found wiffs of currents, raisens, vanilla, orange, cinnamon even a bit of butterscotch. All pronounced to be very ‘christmasy’ in character and quite promising. The taste was not as complex and nuanced as the notes would suggest. We found it lightly peated, with a peach sweetness. The finish remained largely in the mouth, not complex. Most speculated it must be a younger speyside, around 40%, still a bit greenish yet didn’t detract from being quite a nice sipping whisky – nothing offensive. While most considered it too mild to add water, we gamely put in a few drops to see the results – only diluted the taste, shifting to a bit of harness yet still sweet.

This is a new offering from Belvenie for the duty-free market – boasting (as the name suggests) maturation in three different casks: first-fill bourbon, refill bourbon and sherry. Another member has the 16 year at home and we suspect a bit more maturity might be worth the wait.

Wasmund’s The colour was a rich almost burgundy hue and clearly sherry cask. The notes were of burnt wood, tarka, bit of citrus, strong, bold with some peatiness, almost medicinal. The tasting was ‘in your face’ strength, some resin, almost like over-cooked sweet n sour sauce – very full body. Adding water opened it up, bringing out a fruity chewiness, some spice of chillies, cardamom and cloves. The finish has some fire yet mellows into sweetness, like a melon, long tail, lasting. We found it a complex whisky with attitude – perfect for winter nights in Delhi or on the ski slopes. Not one to be messed around with!

Coming from Copper Fox distillers near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this whisky is pot-stilled in small batches, one barrel at a time. What is most remarkable is we understand it is under 5 years maturity yet such a strong and interesting whisky. Quite different from the usual offerings and boldly stood out.

The Speyside 12 year

A lovely warm burnished gold in colour. Nose of overripe bannannas, tulips, bitter chocolate. The taste was smooth, round, easily rolling around on the tongue… bringing the feeling of a warm, lovely evening, curling up in a cosy romantic blanket in front of a crackling fire. Some debate on the hint of peat however overall quite mellow. The finish lingered, mellowing further like a perfect gentleman. Add water and a hint of lavender emerged. Very approachable and enjoyable.

Our contributor confessed he’d had it in his cupboard for years but hadn’t been inspired to try – largely as the packaging isn’t exactly inviting. We didn’t find the hazelnuts mentioned on the bottle but would agree with the vanilla and toffee in the finish.

By the end of the evening we described our whiskies as follows:

  • Belvenie – The guy who tries to be 1st in class, lovely to meet, some possibilities but…
  • Wasmund’s – The bad boy you just wanna go a little wild with and can’t resist!
  • The Speyside – The guy you can count on, a companion. In short – the marrying type!

As always, alternate opinions and comments welcome.

For more posts on our tasting sessions and whisky explorations… check out my other blog Whisky Lady.

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