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Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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Doublewood

The Balvenie Roadshow tasting in DC at Poste

As October ushered itself into Washington D.C. so did the fall-esque weather complete with 50f temperatures and cool rain. It was only fitting to have a Scotch tasting that was originally planned for outdoors at the Poste restaurant in the heart of the city. After arriving soon enough to see the Morgan off-loaded from the truck and driven through the portal which takes you to Poste, I was in no way deterred by the mist and was genuinely happy to see this fine hand-made car take its place in the outdoor dining area that it would have to ultimately spend alone.

Though the weather was gloomy the crowd and especially the host of the evening Andrew Weir was not. Andrew has one of the best jobs in the world (excluding constant travel) and that is to be the Balvenie Ambassador for the Eastern Coast of the U.S. Unlike some reps that I have met in the whisky or cigar industry Andrew is genuinely welcoming and eager to share his knowledge of his product. I also appreciate Andrews’ unwillingness to talk bad about any competing product (which I’ve heard numerous times) and his attitude towards “you enjoy scotch how you like it, because you paid for it!”

Due to the rain the tasting was moved inside to what equates to a bar/entry to the restaurant. The noise from the main dining area was an incredibly unwelcome obstacle for any speaker but everyone there tolerated it and though Andrew merely fakes a Scottish accent we could at least understand some of what he said. Just kidding Andrew. The drams that were to be had were Balvenie’s current offerings of Doublewood 12 year, Single Barrel 15 year, and Portwood 21 year. They are three very different offerings but all very Balvenie. The Doublewood is the perfect scotch to start drinking when you are just starting your journey into scotch. I believe Andrew called it the “gateway” scotch into Balvenie. I would call it the gateway into seriously good scotch! Reportedly this is one of David Stewart’s favorite products which says a lot for a Master of 50 years. The Doublewood has spent most of its life in an American Bourbon barrel and finished up in an European Sherry cask. It is a delightful dram and one I would consider a “go-to” scotch.

The Single Cask 15 is a very different taste because it does carry the kick of a single cask. The ethanol alcohol level is a bit higher and if you like that you will like this offering. I really prefer this to the Doublewood because I do enjoy the kick. It is also different from Doublewood because it only matures in American Oak. No Sherry. So you are going to get more vanilla upfront whereas it is a bit hidden by the Sherry Oak in the Doublewood.

The Portwood 21 is good. Period. It has won several awards and in my mind is a first-rate contender with anything on the market in the premium category. It has spent time in rare Port casks that impart a deliciousness that comes across as honeyed raisins. This is the scotch you have with the Duck and Creme Brûlée. It is a bit pricey but you should experience this scotch, it can be found by the dram in your better bars.

The evening went well despite the din of the restaurant and aside from the whisky nerds (myself and one other gentleman) I believe some whisky novices were very pleased to have discovered this tasting.

As an aside, the appetizers from Poste were extremely well prepared and after the tasting I did enjoy a grass-fed cheeseburger that was actually cooked the way I ordered it, medium. It was delightful! I have found that if a nice restaurant can produce a great burger then you can be assured their other offerings are great as well. If you were wondering if you should try this restaurant out I would encourage you to do so. They also have a great selection and variety in scotch.

The evening was great and as Andrew was leaving he slipped me a gift. It really took me by surprise and was totally unexpected. Let’s just say it has something to do with a future offering and I will be tasting it this week. I have also embedded the video from Balvenie about the roadshow, it’s a great video and I hope you enjoy it, preferably with a Balvenie!

Cheers!

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Balvenie Signature tasting notes

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It is with much admiration I write anything about The Balvenie products and this is no different. You can go to their website and you will see their marketing about how they control the whole production of their product from grain to barrel and in a world where so much is borrowed or outsourced it is refreshing that someone in this day and age can control costs and still produce a fantastic authentic product.

The Balvenie Signature which is aged 12 years is an absolute hit. I actually had to travel to Georgetown, DC and purchase it because Virginia’s ABC doesn’t stock it. That means I had to only travel five miles from my office so it’s not like it was a hike. I also picked up a couple of expressions that ABC of VA doesn’t carry also and will talk about them soon.

But back to the Signature. As with all Balvenie products it comes down to Malt Master Dave Stewart to produce their fine expressions and he really hit this one right. A combination of single malt barrels from three different cask types brings it all together. You can call it blended if you like but I do prefer the vatted or married analogy when you are talking about mingling single malts. The nose is very nice and very Balvenie. I quite like the spice of it that is stronger than their Doublewood and the spirit hits the tongue like a grand dive of an Olympian. It lingers nicely and absolutely begs to be drank neat to me.

The only problem I’ve had is seeing the bottle deplete so quickly. Luckily we’re not talking about a $100 product, I think I paid somewhere in the $30-$40 dollar range and can’t wait to get another one.

As an aside, I’ve smoked a couple of cigars with it, tonight was a Park Avenue 44 which kind of got buried by the scotch and then an E.P.Carillo which paired much better.

So to clear it up, this is a great DD or daily drinker. I will buy this product again and will continue my trek through the Balvenie lines. I do have most of the 17 year products now and recently snagged one of the few remaining Islay Casks from the U.K. thanks to a good friend.

Word on the street is the Balvenie boys tour with the Morgan will be coming to the DC area in the near future and I’m really looking forward to it. You can find information on their website.

Until next time,

Cheers!

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