Burnside 1991 (44.8%, CA, 2019)

Burnside, or a single malt disguised as a blended malt. It’s a bit like the Clark Kent of Superman’s Balvenie. That is, if Superman would ingest a teaspoon of Glenfiddich. OK, this analogy doesn’t make any sense, let’s start over. Burnside is the name of what is usually a “teaspooned” Balvenie, or a Balvenie with some neglectable quantity of Glenfiddich. So although it is technically a blended malt, it’s actually a pure Balvenie. A bit like Spiderman, who, despite having superpowers, is not actually a mutant! OK, this one makes even less sense than the Superman thing. Maybe I should stop with the analogies and the metaphors altogether and concentrate on the whisky.

So, the Burnside. It spent 27 years (!!) in a bourbon barrel, and it was put in a bottle by the Cadenhead’s guys. Mmh, it already looks lovely in the glass, it’s golden just like the label of the bottle. It looks oily, and elegant. Oh, now I’m so hyped to drink it, almost more hyped than that time… NOPE! I said I stopped with the analogies. Let’s just drink the whisky.

Nose: I immediately get some plums, with malt and sugar and… thyme! The alcohol is present, but it’s not overwhelming. Very elegant, buttery, very…. whisky. Clean. And good, so good. It’s very creamy, too. Cocoa butter, that’s what it reminds me of! The plums become peaches, the cocoa butter becomes whipped cream, the malt keeps being malt. I really like nosing it, it seems to evolve too deeply and complexly for my plebeian nostrils to follow. Seriously, very nice stuff.

Taste: Sweet, but not overly so. Malt, rounded and very nice. I think I’m tasting orange peel, and maybe clementines… it’s zesty, but also candy-like and sugary. It’s very easy drinking, but it also has an elegance and a depth that would satisfy the most exigent of the drinkers. It’s like a movie which, behind the comedic appearances, hides a deep and powerful message and maybe a refined critique on modern society. Just like Airplane!, for example. Shit, I did it again, as Britney would say… Oily and mouth-filling. Really, it’s very nice, with quince and some vague balsamic vinegar. After a while I think I’m getting something like a yummy combination of caramel and salt.

Finish: More than decent, with a great mix of bitter orange, dried plums, some caramel. It fades away with a clean, sweet and elegant malty flavour.

Overall: I absolutely loved it, it was very easy drinking and that’s probably what a whisky should be. I would have wished to have the whole bottle, but I sadly split it with a friend. I liked it so much, I think it deserves a boisterous 92/100. Despite my mourning for this whisky now completely gone, I’m very happy I had the possibility to taste such a nice little elegant gem. The price was also fair, I think: I mean, if and when you’ll find a 27 years old Balvenie aged in bourbon for less, please do let me know!


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