A Quick Dram: Balvenie 12 Signature Batch 001


Balvenie distillery is a bit of a gem really.  It is a pretty distillery, and they still do quite a bit of the whisky making there. From floor malting, coopering and employing a copper smith. This control of the process allows for control on quality at each point of production. Now, I have always liked Balvenie, without being blown away. It is a consistently high quality malt, but perhaps too easy drinking at times, which is both a positive and a negative.

Owned by the Grant family, it was built just 6 years after Glenfiddich. At the time, there was a whisky boom/bubble, that would soon burst (the Pattison Crash). Glenfiddich and Balvenie kept going though, and now Glenfiddich is the biggest selling single malt in the world, and Balvenie is quite a bit bigger than I expected when I started reading about it (5.5 million litres, 9th biggest malt in the UK). The Grant family have done very well with all the distilleries they own and they have shown over many years that they do well when they take on projects, which bodes well for their new purchase: Drambuie.

David Stewart is Malt Master there. He has been working in the industry for 50 years, and is a great guy. Very good to talk to, with vast reserves of knowledge on making whisky. This bottling was released to mark his 45 years in the whisky business.

Let’s get on to this dram. I got given it as a gift. Bottles and miniatures are going for silly prices online, so let’s see if it is worth opening (or whether it will just be traded for eternity).

Balvenie 12 Signature Batch 001
Refill Bourbon and Ex Sherry Casks
40% Abv

Nose: Tangerine, raisins, pears. A bit floral  and a light honeysuckle. Far too light. Not enough of the warmth that I expect from Balvenie.

Palate: Grainy, bit of chocolate, dash of caramel. Cadbury fruit and nut, bitter and a hint of metal.

Overall: Not my thing at all. It feels wrong to criticise something produced by someone who has been in the business for such a long time. What do I know? Not much, but I do know my own taste. And this wasn’t to my taste. Far too light, and the flavours weren’t coherent.

Sorry to the person who gave me the gift. It was appreciated, even if I wasn’t a big fan.

Chris Hoban


Book us for a tasting

Book Us For A Tasting! Looking for a whisky tasting experience? Look no further! We've hosted thousands of tastings catering for all budgets and themes. Let us tailor a bespoke whisky experience for you - click here or drop us a line now at edinburghwhisky@gmail.com!

Connect with us

Find us on Facebook!    Follow us on Twitter!    Follow us on Instagram!    Connect with me on LinkedIn!    Subscribe to us on YouTube!    Email us!   

Judging honours & awards

Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year 2020            World Whiskies Awards Judge Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards Judge         Independent Bottlers Challenge JudgeJudge Global Scotch Masters Judge           Scottish Whisky Awards Judge EWA Certificate                    EWA Diploma