The Balvenie: A Rare Whisky Tasting

The Balvenie: A Rare Whisky Tasting

Setting it’s whisky apart from other tastings, the Balvenie (Bal-vaynee) created a unique event in cities across the U.S., bringing together rare pieces of craftsmanship to remind its guests of the craftsmanship offered in its whisky.

Items on display at Austin’s 2014 Rare Craft Collection were hand selected by Dario Franchitti, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner. Housed in the Brazos Hall, these rare finds were made mostly of wood, complimenting the old dance hall feel of the place. Not jam-packed like many downtown soirees, there were clumps of people milling about.

At the tasting, I was shocked to see so many hands raised when ambassador Jonathan Wingo asked who all had done a tasting with the Balvenie before, and then again how many people had been to Scotland as well.

Clearly I was sitting among some serious whiskey drinkers.

We were given three tastes to start with, beginning with a 12-year-old single barrel, followed by a DoubleWood* aged 17 years and finally a PortWood**, aged 21 years.

The 12-year-old single barrel was much lighter in color than the others, as well as to a certain extent lighter in taste. It has a floral, sweet taste and smell to it. Drown in water—the alcohol content is a whopping 47%.

My personal favorite was the Portwood aged 17 years—the flavor overwhelmed the senses, leaving a nice aftertaste.

As a treat, the tasting ended with a whisky aged in a sherry cask. Each taster got to dip a metal flask, for lack of a better word, into a cask and draw out their own swig, much like people used to use for stealing whisky (Watch how it was done here).

We’ve taken you to Glenfiddich’s tasting before. The Balvenie, opened in 1892, is it’s sister distillery. Both were opened by William Grant, are housed in Dufftown, Scotland, and are still owned by the Grant family.

The event continues this evening. Details at https://us.thebalvenie.com/collection.

*DoubleWood means it was aged in two barrels.

**PortWood means it was aged in a port cask.


4 Roses

by Antonio F Delgado

I love passionate people and Peter Connely is one of those individuals. As many of our regular Spooners know , I am known at work for my love of whiskey.

Pete and I got together this past January to discuss our love for whiskey and sample a few of the 4 Roses favorites!

I’ll let Pete tell you about the rest!

Whiskey without the E ’cause there’s no E in Scotch Whisky

Note: The whisky tasting was free for OhSpooning, courtesy of Glenfiddich.

Last week, the Spooners got a chance to taste several Glenfiddich  Scotch whiskys at a tasting at Freedmen’s, 2402 San Gabriel St. near UT’s campus.

First off, let’s start with how to pronounce it: Glen-fid-ick with a hard “ch.” So raise your glass, and make a toast before we begin.

If you’re not familiar with the brand, Glenfiddich, Gaelic for Valley of the Deer, was founded in 1886 by William Grant in Dufftown, Scotland, and is still family owned. Grant, his wife, and his seven sons and two daughters built the distillery by hand and served its first spirits Christmas Day in 1887.

They claim to have the best dram in the valley. What’s a dram, you ask? Basically, a small glass of whisky.

10302013_ATX_Freedmans_Glenfiddich_031If you’re not familiar with drinking Scotch whisky, the best way to taste it, we learned from Glenfiddich Ambassador David Allardice, is to drink it neat and then add drops of water to suit your taste (cutting the whisky). Chew it up and roll it around until your mouth waters for best results.

Glenfiddich is a single-malt whisky (the best-selling single-malt in the world), which means they are made from only malted grain, 100% barley. While single-malt is clearly defined in Scotland, there is no definition of single malt in the U.S. law.

I think there were six tastes, maybe seven. I lost track after the first few. There was definitely a favorite, but I lost track of that as well. We were the first in Texas to try the 19 year old Glenfiddich, which will be available in limited supply at select bars and restaurants in Austin.

If you’re interested in trying Glenfiddich, the 12 year is on special at Freedmen’s this month for $3 during happy hour.

Make sure to listen to our podcast to learn more about Glenfiddich from the ambassador himself.