The Balvenie Craftsmens Reserve #1  The Cooper 15 Years Old

59.4% ABV, £65 for 70cl [free 10cl sample with two tasting glasses]

315 Bottles released February 2012 to Warehouse 24 members

Score: 94/100

balvenie-15-year-old-craftsmans-reserve-1-the-cooper-whisky

What they say:

This was the first whisky in a planned reserve range from The Balvenie celebrating the various distillery crafts. Produced from two refill Sherry butts personally selected and married together by The Balvenie’s Malt Master David Stewart. Samples of this were available to Warehouse 24 members who invited a friend along to their online live tasting event. The subsequent release was limited to members who had registered with Warehouse 24 prior to the tasting event.

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What I say:

We were delighted to have received the sample set and join in with the online tasting event and be able to buy a bottle. The Balvenie Doublewood was where our real love of single malt whisky started, and The Balvenie Warehouse 24 [old] site was where we first started listing our whisky collection and sitting down of an evening dram in hand and making our tasting notes, selecting from colour wheels and rating aromas etc. Much later at the Balvenie Craft in Motion tour Edinburgh we got the chance to meet the Balvenie Global Brand Ambassador Sam Simmons and it was from discussions with him that our inspiration to start blogging about whisky arose. So it is only fitting that our 2013 Year End [Hogmanay so I’m told they call it in these parts] Dram is one of The Balvenie’s finest. To date this is still our favourite whisky, sadly and perhaps partly due to the huge expense of the online tasting there doesn’t appear to be further plans to produce the other four whiskies in the Craftsmens Reserve range… yet.

Colour:

Deep ruby

Nose:

Sweet acetone/ketone, Rose, fudge, caramel, sticky toffee pudding, sweet sherry, ester, floral perfume, sweet white chocolate

Taste:

Sweet honey [Manuka] and Muscovado sugar, orange marmalade, chocolate and coffee, smooth ginger, woody, leather, raisins, spicy and savoury, a little meaty and salty

Finish:

Long woody and vaporous with distinct herbal notes [actually very reminiscent of the palate on the Tun1401 Batch #8]

Would I buy it again:

If it were only available!

We live in hope that The Balvenie and David Stewart will one day produce the rest of this proposed range, most likely due to coercion by Sam.