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90 points

Balvenie 30 year old, 47.3%

A special Balvenie to honor Master Distiller David Stewart’s 30 years working at the distillery. This is a big and brooding dram. The aroma suggests it is aged in both bourbon and sherry oak. It’s complex and richly flavored (sweeter up front and increasingly dry towards its finish), with notes of honey, candied fruit, thick cut marmalade, vanilla, almonds, and prominent spicy oak notes. I’m picking up plenty of sherry in this new expression, which I like. It finishes firmly dry, with notes of spice and tannin. While I enjoy this whisky a great deal, you might want to seek out the Balvenie 25 year old (which I rated a 93) while the odd bottle is still available. It is slightly more rounded on the palate, and less than half the cost.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2005)