The Balvenie 26 Year Old A Day of Dark Barley nose opens up like finding a prune cocoon under the full moon. You consult your Wiccan book of blessings to see to whom you may direct lightly-peaty, heavily fruity, altogether non-snooty wafting, waffle-y amber waves of grainy goodness. Why, Malt Master David Stewart, that’s who, from an experiment in 1992! Mmmm, hmmmm: Also needed: the thinnest stroopwafel ever conceived, only slightly thicker than graphene. Check! Bananas? Check. Pineapples? Check. Smoked Braeburn apples? Check. Beeswax candles (white and black) dripping with honey made with pollen from jasmine? Check. Last, a kitchen sponge from the French Laundry? What?! How are you supposed get into the kitchen of the French Laundry! You’ll just have to wing this:
Glencairn in hand,
Balvenie in glass,
Nose of a goddess,
Good fortune at last!
The mouth is stunning. Black opals and star sapphires. Bright and syrupy like the nectar served at the feasts at Oberon and Titania’s summer palace. It leaves a lingering tingling like I’m Dracula and I’ve bitten into a hemophiliac. There’s dark resin—the promised dark barley?—and light molasses; the yin/yang of rich torte-like, wild strawberry tart-like, custard mousse implosion of Planet Amazing. There’s high soprano sax, Sidney Bechet/New Orleans style with a dibble dab of that Balvenie reed.
The finish is Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Not that it’s for truckers, or ghosts, but it’s bigger than life, imbued with the za’atar used to spice the dishes at the Last Supper. There’s a bubbling goodness, like Bitto Storico cheese bubbling on pizza pulled from a 900º brick oven. There’s even more chocolate, this time a 76% cacao criollo bar broken into tiny bits, melting on the tongue like a settling sun hovering on the horizon. We got also granola syrup, although it wasn’t clear if it was dark amber maple syrup poured on granola, or, improbably, a syrup made from granola. You’ll need to decide this one yourself.
On the scale of Netflix Original Series–
The Balvenie 26 Year Old A Day of Dark Barley is the German-produced Dark–Dark is intricately plotted in such a way that things that really shouldn’t make any sense at all work perfectly. The acting is evocative, moving, incredible. The cinematography reminds me of late Bergman films. The opening credits mesh perfectly with the mood of the series. The song is haunting. It’s layered, provocative, dense, possessive. Pour a glass of the Balvenie Day of Dark Barley 26yo, put on Dark, and be swept away.
–Our thanks to Balvenie for the sample!