The Balvenie Single Barrel 12 Years “First Fill Ex-Bourbon”,

The Balvenie Single Barrel 12 Years “First Fill Ex-Bourbon”, Cask #4564, Bottle Number 148, 47.8% abv. Price Around 260 Shekels.

Kosher Certification on the bottle: Manchester Beith Din

This is a rather uncharacteristically short whisky review where I won’t be going into the history of the distillery or go off on some rant about the Scottish Whisky Industry or similar such issue. Instead, this is a straight forward review of a really enchanting and delicious single malt whisky.
First things First:

Non-Chill-Filtered. Natural Colour. An excellent start!

At first glance it is the standard Balvenie canister and bottle. However, on closer examination It is actually reminiscent of Bruichladdich tins where they cover every available space with whisky related text. Here we have an entire column of Barrel notes, explanation of the term “Single Barrel”, Tasting notes, a technical diagram of the makeup of an American Barrel, How the Ex-Bourbon casks are prepared, charred and put together.


Obviously, I really like the idea of putting this much information on the cardboard container.


A beautiful natural lemony straw colour. It has a lovely swirling motion to it. The high alcohol volume shows in the slow moving tears that trickle down the side leaving lines in their path, criss-crossing like the London Underground map.

On the Nose:
When you first put your nose to the glass of this Balvenie 12 Single Cask, you experience fresh and sparkly aromas. There is freshly squeezed pulpy apple juice, the sharpness of sweet grapefruits, fermented apple wine, herbal barley sugar and lemons, vanilla pods, Apple & Lemon travel sweets in powdered sugar, fresh beer, Shandy Bass, sweet wood spices,

On the Palette:
The taste is sweet, sharp and very tangy on the tongue. The tastes explode with flavour in mouth. Sweet Grapefruit, yellow apples, pineapple, apple sherbet fizzy powder.
This single malt is a class act. It is clean. Light, fresh and very complex.
Malty creaminess. That word “Tangy” keeps coming back!
Lemon curd, white Baking sugar, Maple syrup. Bitter, sour malty Lemon. Herbal Lemon Tea.
In Your Face, exciting and sharp. A sharp sweetness and tangy taste at the front of the tongue.
The finish is a high alcohol punch, sharp fruitiness and immensely refreshing.
With Water
However, when you add a teaspoon or two of water it calms down somewhat, becoming a touch more civilised and more approachable, without losing any of its fresh sparkle.
Now we get far more sophisticated tasting notes. Gingerbread shortbread biscuits, Lemons and apricots. Ripe soft peaches, Lemon and vanilla ice-cream, Cream-Soda, Barley Sugar, Austrian style, apple, sultana and cinnamon in layers of pastry wet strudel with sweet mix wood spices.

This is such a refreshing and exciting dram. Deceptively light yet there is much to identify. Tastes burst on the tongue. This is a whisky for the beginning of the evening to get your mouth saliva going. A dram to begin your meal with.

It is bottled at a high strength alcohol level which preserves all those flavours but if drunk straight, will be a bit closed and sharp with slightly harsh notes. However, with water added, this is a wonderfully sparkling and yes, tangy, refreshing and full flavoured dram. It is all too easy to pour yourself another dram and make sure your fellow drinkers’ glasses are refilled as well of course. Don’t be surprised when the bottle level quickly sinks below the “time to buy another bottle” red line marker quicker than most other whiskies.



  1. Always love Balvenie. Unusually high above for a standard release?


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