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The Flavours Of The Balvenie Range Adds 16-Year-Old French Oak Expression

The Balvenie Distillery recently introduced its French Oak 16 Year Old, a new cask-finished whisky added to their Flavours of The Balvenie range.

The mature whisky features what’s noted as the Speyside distillery’s honeyed character, but with a twist thanks to The Balvenie’s first time using French Oak casks in its 129-year history.

The Balvenie team’s travels to Europe’s wine making regions helped inspire the new expression, which delves into Pineau from the French Charentes vineyards.

The Balvenie French Oak 16 Year Old
The Balvenie’s French Oak 16 Year Old (image via The Balvenie)

Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine made from fresh, unfermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie is added and then matured.

The Balvenie whisky is first matured for 16 years in traditional American Oak whisky barrels, then finished in Pineau French Oak casks to impart what’s said to be a velvety sweetness with notes of grapefruit, geranium, glazed fruit, and ginger.

Anna Austin, wood buyer at William Grant & Sons, said their casks have been used to season Red Pineau des Charentes, and all have a variety of different histories.

“The complexity of their journey to The Balvenie is what brings the depth of flavor to our whisky,” she said in a prepared statement. “By working closely with specialist wine cask suppliers who source the casks from some very special French wineries, we know we can deliver on the highest quality we strive for in our craft.”

The French Oak 16 Year Old packaging is decorated with ornate details and intertwined with vines from chateaus.

Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie Brand Ambassador UK, said that with the release of the new French Oak 16 Year Old, “we are exploring yet another world of flavor through the incredible cask finishing process which our malt master of nearly 60 years, David C. Stewart MBE, pioneered decades ago.”

“It’s incredible to watch the flavors unfurl in a new way with the addition of these Pineau de Charentes casks, and showcases that the skill it takes to continue innovating is deep within our ethos of staying true to being a maker at heart.”

The Balvenie’s French Oak 16 Year Old joins two new variants of cask finished whiskies, Madeira Cask 15 Year Old and PX Sherry Cask 18 Year Old along with its core range of established cask finished whiskies, including DoubleWood 12 Year Old, Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old and PortWood 21 Year Old.

The Balvenie French Oak 16 Year Old is now available from select retailers, including Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop, for a suggested retail price of £123.00 (70cl).

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