The Balvenie Caribbean Cask

This is my first venture into The Balvenie (yes, the “the” is important). Stirred by the encouragement of brand ambassador Jamie Johnson, I decided to give the so-called “bourbon friendly” 14-year Caribbean Cask a whirl. A Scotsman and a pirate walk into a bar …


Pour: The Balvenie Caribbean Cask
Proof: 86
Age: 14 years
Color: light amber
Nose: apple, toast & honey, ambrosia
Taste: whipped custard, pear, faint white pepper
Finish: moderate length – vanilla, sugary oak, hints of exotic spice


Overall: Well I’ll be Jackie MacSparrow, this is a damn fine whisky. Though a bit shy on complexity, The Balvenie Caribbean Cask delivers a whimsically sweet, romantically spicy sipping experience that whisks you away then calls for your return. Avast, ye!

Rating: Swashbuckling.

Single Cask Nation Invergordon 46

Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin of J&J Spirits sure have a way of finding unique casks. Today’s pour is no exception, a 46-year single grain whisky produced by the Scottish Highland’s Invergordon Distillery. It’s the oldest whisky I’ve tasted to date. Sláinte!


Pour: Single Cask Nation Invergordon 46
Proof: 92.4 (46.2% ABV)
Age: 46 years
Color: pale gold
Nose: butter pecan ice cream, waffle cone, white grape
Taste: Necco wafer, wheat cracker, zesty candied pear
Finish: moderate length – grapefruit, confectioners sugar, almond shell


Overall: Wrapping my head around this profile is no easy task. On one hand there’s ample sweetness composed of white fruit and confectionery charm. On the other, particularly the finish, there’s a distracting bitterness. A fun experience, though not my favorite.

Rating: Quirky.

Special thanks to Malt Review’s Taylor Cope for the generous sample.

Ardbeg Ten Year Old

‘Tis Burns Night all ye ladies and gents, and I fancy myself a wee dram; Not a bourbon or rye, nor libation with ice, but a malt from a land known as Islay.

‘Tis said that a Scotch gets finer with age, I can see why a bloke might agree; Yet, ten years is enough with its sweet waft of smoke – O’, my heart it beats fondly for Ardbeg.


Pour: Ardbeg Ten Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch
Proof: 92
Age: ten years
Color: vegetable oil
Nose: enticing smoke, singed honeydew melon, caramel-pear
Taste: medicinal fabric, sweet & salty wafer, vanilla spice
Finish: long & complex w/ lingering peat, seawood, faint honey


Overall: You can have your fancy, hyper-aged single malts – your blue-label blends and high-dollar rarities. For me, there is one Scotch conquering all. Affordable, available, and juxtaposed with coastal elegance and fury, ‘tis Ardbeg Ten. Sláinte.

Rating: Perfect ten.