...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Single Malt Report: Balvenie 10 year old The Founder's Reserve (final edition)

On Monday, I reported on the old Balvenie 8 year old Pure Malt.  Today's Balvenie Bye-Bye is the 10 year old Founders Reserve.  The '80s and early '90s bottlings have become somewhat infamous for their cognac/calvados-like bottle shape:
being reviewed today
In the 21st century, Balvenie updated the packaging, so that it looked like a whisky bottle:

Low res image of the actual bottle reviewed!
The Founder's Reserve differs from the Doublewood in that rather than having the Double's secondary maturation (ex-bourbon barrel stuff finished in ex-sherry casks), Founder's is a marriage of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry malts.  Thus it's a little bit more of a blending exercise than modern finishing.

This sample came to me thanks to a Southern California Whiskey Club event.  I was unable to attend, but I happily bought samples.

Distillery: Balvenie
Ownership: William Grant & Sons
Region: Speyside (Dufftown)
Type: Single Malt
Age: minimum 10 years
Maturation: ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, married
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Bottling year: 2008 or earlier
Chillfiltered? Likely
Color added? Not much, if so

The nose starts out very peachy.  There's a little odd meaty note in the background that disappears after a few minutes.  Then clean linens, strawberry bubblegum, and toasted grains.  Vanilla ice cream and apple peels.  Hints of toffee and coconut cream.

The palate is very focused: caramel, honey, milk chocolate, and Triscuits.  After twenty minutes there are small toasted oak notes and roasted nuts.

The finish is all toasted coconut, caramel, roasted almonds, and a tiny bit of vanilla.

It's a candy bar.  The nose is fruity and more complex but the palate is clear as day.  It often feels older than its 10 years, so perhaps David Stewart snuck in some older lower ABV casks.  The weird note on the nose didn't bother because it vanished so quickly.  Otherwise, it's basically a simple flawless dessert whisky.  And it's a damn shame this whisky no longer exists.  In my next post, I'll take a gander at what replaced The Founder's Reserve.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 86