Balvenie 17 SherryOak
Strength: 43 %
I was never more disappointed with a whisky than my first dram of Balvenie 17 SherryOak. I paid $100 (on sale!) for a well-reviewed whisky from a label I'd otherwise had nothing but good experience, and the result was an over-oaked, bitter and acrid drink. The good news was that this was a one-time experience; somehow as the whisky was exposed to fresh air the character changed. I've since learned that this necessity to let the whisky "breathe" is common for Balvenie.
After the whisky reached a stable state, the result was a nice balance between sweet sherry-influenced notes of fruit and spice with the more traditional honey and oak of Balvenie. Though aged in sherry casks, this did not quite qualify as a "sherry monster" in the way that a Macallan or Aberlour usually do (and I think we can throw Springbank 15 into the mix as well). However, even after breathing, the whisky still tasted over-oaked to me and the finish was in particular too short and bitter. 88 points (B+).
Other Balvenie reviews:
Shop for whisky (and help Scotch Drammer) at The Whisky Exchange.