The Balvenie Golden Cask 14 year old, 47.5%

Price: $62 Issue: Winter 2009 Reviewer: John Hansell

Gold color (as its name suggests) with a hint of copper. This whisky, which was finished in Caribbean rum casks, follows on the heels of the limited edition The Balvenie 17 year old Rum Cask. The 17 year old was pleasant enough, but quite sweet (I rated it an 80). This new Golden Cask is an improvement, because the higher alcohol level, along with an array of dried spice, helps to balance the sweet rum notes. Lively, bright tangerine, nectarine, and pineapple combine with Balvenie's signature honey, nougat, Heath bar, light molasses, and milk chocolate. Dried spice (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg) and gritty oak resin kick in on the finish, rounding everything out quite nicely. Now if we could only have the best of both worlds -- the balance of the Golden Cask 14 year old, and the maturity of the 17 year old. That could be a whisky worthy of a 90s rating. (Travel Retail Exclusive) Price per liter.