The Balvenie Triple Cask Aged 16 Years, 40% ABV

This is one of The Balvenie's travel exclusive whiskies. The first bottle I purchased was in the duty-free shop at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls in 2015. I am at a loss to explain why I have not written about this whisky sooner. As many of my friends know, I have long been a fan of The BalvenieDistillery and have enjoyed many of the expressions that the malt master of over 50 years, David Stewart, has created, frequently in a Glencairn glass, the design of which is said to have enjoyed participation from Mr. Stewart.  

The triple casking consists of aging the whisky in oloroso sherry butts, first fill bourbon casks and "traditional whisky casks" which means the casks have already been used for aging scotch spirit; presumably these are second or third fill bourbon barrels that likely have been tended to by The Balvenie's full time cooperage staff. 

The color is a rich, deep, full amber. 

This dram needs no water to open it up. It is ready to be enjoyed immediately. One will smell and taste a fruitiness that I attribute to Mediterranean fruits like fig, date and apricot. Vanilla and honey sweetness then dominates the nose and the palate with a mild layer of spice (which likely comes from The Balvenie's light peat smoking approximately 10% of the malt that it distills). There is a mild breath of alcohol, which is rather surprising given the low ABV of this whisky. The sweet and spice combination lingers lovingly on the tongue, particularly on the back of the tongue where it will cause ongoing salivation, for quite a few minutes after swallowing a sip. This whisky is rich and as smooth as silk. I find it most delicious. The only way it could be better is if it were bottled at a slightly higher ABV, with my thinking that most whiskies are indeed better at 43% or 46% rather than 40% ABV. 

After writing the preceding, I broke out the last bit of Scottish tablet remaining from my recent trip to Scotland. Scottish tablet is a confection made of sugar, condensed milk and butter. The folks at The Craigellachie Hotel provided a welcome tray that included cheeses, shortbread cookies, fruit, nuts and the Scottish tablet to go with servings of the house malt whisky for each of us. Taking a sip of the whisky in my mouth with the Scottish tablet was the creation of pure butterscotch joy. Instant happiness.