The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

50 ml sadly single mini

Balvenie-12-Single-Barrel-sampleTasting notes:
Poe once wrote about The Tell Tale Heart.  Had he the great good fortune of pouring out a measure of the Balvenie 12 Single Barrel, he might have written about The Disappearing Nose.  This has more gentleness than a hummingbird feather used to brush the eyelashes of a moth.  We get lemon custard, but it’s after a child has licked her plate clean and it’s brought back into the kitchen.  There’s a touch of something floral; a bride’s bouquet flying through the air of a hotel banquet hall from the standpoint of a disaffected groomsman leaning on a faux pillar.  Then the unmistakable presence of tiramisu but without the coffee, cocoa, or mascarpone cheese; just lots and lots of lady fingers (not to be confused with lady hands).  Sure, there’s a little cherry—but it’s a cherry no larger than a tiny pomegranate seed surrounded by a tumescent, burgundy aril.  Altogether, we imagine the nose to consist in a cherried-butter fondant over an angel’s food cake.  

     The mouth is lovely; delicious in every way; smooth and beautifully balanced.  Whatever barrel this came from—just stop right now and take it to the hall of fame in Cooper’s Town.  But don’t get me wrong, behind the elegance is ferocity and even some coarseness, at least when it’s called upon.  Think James Bond working down at the docks ostensibly as a waiter, but really as a union arm twister.  
     The finish is longer than the climactic scenes in the extended version DVD of The Return of the King.  There is, of course, a toilet bowl plunger held in the hands and covering the end of Miles Davis’ trumpet.  He drips a streusselish topping from his spit valve onto a cup cake from Magnolia Bakery. (Stephen: OK, so I know that’s a  nod to the etymology there, but if it came from Miles Davis, I bet it’d be delicious!)  Drinking this has all of the stress-reducing effects of a squeezie ball given away at a health insurance convention kiosk.  As I relax into this dram and feel my blood pressure regularize, I begin to think that the 12 on the bottle is a measurement of my pulse.  I’m that chilled out.

On the scale of French desserts
The Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel is Crêpes Suzette–More complex than punitions (which sounds like a portmanteu word formed of punishment and munitions) and not as heavy as La Côte Basque’s Dacquoise (who can pronounce that anyway?), Crêpes Suzette is at once iconic and serendipitous.  The dessert sauce was accidentally set ablaze by 14-year old assistant chef Henri Charpentier, but the result pleased the Prince of Wales so much that they named it for a girl in his party.



Our thanks to Andrew Weir and The Balvenie for the sample! 

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