It’s been nearly a decade, but today, The Balvenie announced the expansion of its Cask Finishes Range with the release of The Balvenie French Oak 16-Year-Old.
“The Cask Finishes Range is the core of The Balvenie expressions, showcasing the brand’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of flavor and craftsmanship,” Naomi Leslie, The Balvenie East ambassador tells Men’s Journal.
For the first time in the distillery’s 130-year history, this new whisky is finished in Pineau French Oak casks. The vibrant, distinct flavors of Pineau—a fortified wine produced from unfermented grape juice to which Cognac eau-de-vie is added and matured—presents a fresh finish that hasn’t yet been expressed in the Cask Finish Range.
Yet, at the same time, Leslie shares, the Pineau casks impart a “great depth and complexity” extracted during the signature double maturation process that offers a rich flavor profile with notes of tangy lemon rind, grapefruit, and savory ginger spice.
The French Oak 16-Year old expands The Cask Finishes Range for the first time since 2013, when the Caribbean Cask 14-Year-Old was released, which finished the whisky in casks that previously held a curated selection of West Indies rum, to impart notes of toffee and a warm, lingering finish.
DoubleWood 12-Year-Old, finished in former Oloroso sherry casks, and Portwood 21-Year-Old, finished in port casks, are also permanent fixtures of the Range, which Leslie defines as “whiskies that showcase the versatility of barrel aging and the nuances that come with different types of casks while always maintaining the rich, honeyed signature taste of The Balvenie at their core.”
The Range began in 1983 when Malt Master David C. Steward MBE introduced the finishing process, moving the whisky during maturation into a second and final cask to add a layer of flavor and nuance.
“Each expression within The Cask Finishes Range evokes the patience, passion and care put into experimenting with new ways of making whisky,” says Leslie. “We’re so lucky to work for a family who allows us to play with new ideas and this French Oak 16-Year-Old is the latest result of the trust and freedom they give us.”
So why release it now? Leslie credits the performance and influence of The Balvenie in the global whisky market, which she says is growing daily: “We felt this was an exciting time to introduce something new and unexpected to our portfolio.” She adds it’s a “fun opportunity” for consumers to try The Balvenie whisky they love in many different types of barrels that each provide their own unique notes to the spirit.
The Balvenie 16-Year-Old is available nationwide for an SRP of $174.99. For more information visit thebalvenie.com.
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