Whisky Focus - Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill

The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill

15th March  2013
Introducing the latest addition to The Balvenie family, The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill.

You may already have come across this one as I have been a little slow off the mark announcing it. Anyway, I would like to introduce the latest addition to The Balvenie range, The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill, which as its title suggests is a single distillation which has been matured exclusively in a single first fill American ex-Bourbon barrel for 12 years.

So what exactly are first fill American ex-Bourbon barrels? These are American oak barrels which have previously been used to mature American Bourbon whiskey, these ex-Bourbon barrels are brought over from America and when they are used to mature Scotch whisky for the first time, they are known as ‘first fill’ barrels. These American oak barrels, which are cared for by The Balvenie’s own coopers, impart distinctive notes of vanilla and spice to the maturing spirit.

No two barrels are 100% identical therefore you will find subtle differences in each of The Balvenie 12 Single Barrel releases.

The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill  is bottled at 47.8% abv and is a non chill-filtered, as we like it. Each bottle is drawn from a single cask of a single distillation therefore the number of bottles from each individual cask will vary but each cask will yield no more than 300 bottles. Each bottle is also hand-numbered and will carry the number of the cask it was matured in.

The Balvenie 12 year Single Barrel effectively replaces the much loved Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel but for a while at least you will see both together on the the shelves in whisky shops as The Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel will be slowly phased out.

The new Balvenie 12 year Single Barrel is now part of what the Balvenie are calling "The Balvenie Connoisseur Range" which I suspect we will see more additions to in the near future. Following the addition of The Balvenie 17 Doublewood late last year the current Balvenie core range now looks like this:
  • The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old
  • The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old
  • The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old
  • The Balvenie PortWood, 21 Year Old

You will notice that I haven't listed The Balvenie Signature 12 Year Old as part of the core range, this is because like the Balvenie 15 year old Single Barrel it is also being phased out. So if you have a liking for any of these two Balvenie expressions I suggest you start stocking up.

The Balvenie 12 year old Single Barrel has a RRP of £45 and will be available from this month in both the UK and USA.

Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel First Fill Tasting Notes

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: A deliciously enticing barley sugar nose, oak spice, vanilla and some fruit candy lurking in the background.

Taste: Creamy, malty, sweet vanilla custard  dusted with oak spice, cinnamon, coconut more vanilla and oak spice and a touch of lemon zest.

Finish: A long sweet finish with vanilla, lemon zest and some slowly drying oak spice.

Comment: The First Fill cask has done what you would expect with delicious results. Another brilliantly complex whisky hand picked by The Balvenie's David Stewart. I doubt any Balvenie fans will be mourning the loss of the Balvenie Signature or 15 year old Single Barrel once they taste this. £45 for a single cask 47.8% abv non chill-filtered distillery bottling of this quality in today's market is a very good price.
SMW Score 93/100

Where To Buy The Balvenie Whisky Online

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