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Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel - First Fill

(70cl, 47.8%)

Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel - First Fill

Balvenie 12 Single Barrel Bottling Note

Released in 2013, Balvenie's Single Barrel First Fill was matured in first-fill bourbon casks for at least 12 years before bottling. These are limited edition bottlings, with each bottle being one of no more than 300 drawn from a single cask. Each is also hand-numbered and labelled with the cask reference number. A deliciously creamy, vanilla-rich whisky from Balvenie.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Toasted, sweet nose with all kinds of charred oak and spice. Hints of maple syrup and allspice, a little vanilla and sweet coffee.

Palate: A complex, thick palate with allspice and toffee apples. Cooked fruit and baking spices, hints of sponge cake and creamy caramel.

Finish: Long finish with lingering sweetness and spice.

Overall: An intense whisky with lots of influence from the cask. Great value for money too.

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Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel - First Fill Reviews

A decent dram

Well...first Balvenie single barrel and two drams in I find it a bit one-dimensional; doesn’t offer the complexity of a 12yo Glenallachie or a 12yo Tobermory. A decent dram without setting off the fireworks!

17th October 2020

Very good indeed.

Recently opened my first bottle of this & first taste was pretty uneventful (sour & spice).
A drop of water opened it up slightly, adding a little sweetness.
It was the 2nd glass that it came to life & offered a lovely sweet spiciness along with citrus, tropical fruits, coconut & for a moment what I thought tasted like a fresh baked fruit cake :P
Top stuff !!

7th September 2020

whisky as it should be

what a belter of a dram . smooth as silk and bursting with flavour . quite similar to glen garioch 12 ( which is a huge compliment) Really benefits from higher abv and being non chill filtered. Delicious whisky , dangerously moreish

3rd September 2020


My god, some of the pretentious rubbish by people below.

It's a fantastic whisky, just try it if you haven't already.

28th August 2020

Ba na na ..

Ba-na-na .. .. Love it. Got 3 left.

7th July 2020

Classic bourbon casked goodness

Lovely stuff. Plenty of vanillin from the cask along with coconut, toasted notes and gentle oak. Bags of distillery character giving a rich mouth feel, floral notes and gentle fruit. Excellent balance and great value.

19th May 2020

One of my top picks.

Well balanced, modest Oak flavor up front with obvious vanilla, gives way to fruit and finishes with very obvious honey. I say obvious because it’s so easy to put your finger on, but to be clear I’m not saying it’s overpowering. This is a well balanced whiskey. If you haven’t had it, get some.

25th January 2019

buy buy buy.......

so delicious ! I want to buy more but it is sold out

23rd April 2018

Probably a bad cask

Looking at almost all of the other reviews, I might have had the bad luck of a bad cask. A really bad one. Mine is horrible, I can't even drink it.

23rd February 2018


Through many lessons learned the hard way... this Scotch was amazing... ripe banana in the finish.

16th February 2018



28th December 2017

Great, I think.

My first bottle was amazing, thought it would be my go to whisky, and at such great value. Subsequently bought 2 more (different cask number) they are almost undrinkable, just tastes of sulphur. I assume, and hope, that it was just a dodgy cask. Anyone else encountered this?

27th April 2017

Buy Buy Buy..... NOW

Best 12 year old I've ever tasted. Bravo Balvenie. Really hope this one has lots of legs on it unlike the 15 year old single barrel which has been snapped up by collectors alike.

I feel like I need to buy an entire case of this. Where's my wallet?

Creamy vanilla ice cream drizzled on top of a toffee apple. Remarkable stuff. Best with a teaspoon of water. No more.

6th April 2017

A force to be reckoned with

I never thought I'd like this whisky so much, given that I drink smoky, peaty whiskies all the time. But this is truly something special and well worth the price. The best that balvenie makes in the 12 year range.

21st March 2017

Truly special

Now I have had doublewood many times and it is great but it is also overpriced here in the states now and since its the same price as this figured this was a better value and wow was I right. This is a very intriguing style of whisky to me quite dry and a little tart, very complex with a long finish that reveals vanilla, apples and spices.Only thing I can think of that's similar to this is Craigellachie 13 but this might actually be a little better. At first wasn't sure how much I liked this but drinking it again I realize this is a fantastic whisky, absolutely delightful with a long finish and good complexity. Cheers! The Sugarbear

16th December 2016


Worth every dollar!

16th September 2016


Absolutely yummy!!!

27th May 2016

so delicious i like it

i like it it is good

22nd April 2016


Opened a bottle of this tonight and there are no words to describe it's delicate and smooth yet rich flavour. MoM are also is providing excellent service.

4th March 2016


Without question the best 12 year old distillery bottling around. Absolutely stunning.

30th January 2016

Balvenie 12 year single barrel


27th January 2016

At this price, a superior product to the 12 Doublewood

First of all, you lucky blokes get to buy this at $54 US. That is a bargain and a half. Second, this is a far superior whiskey to the 12 year Doublewood at only 2 more quid. Buy this now, you will not regret it.

25th January 2016


All there is, is harsh spice and more spice. Unpleasant to drink and not worth the money at all.. Water just renders it bitter tasting.. My first and last Balvenie bottle I buy without having tasted it first. Bad cask? Who knows..

14th January 2016

Sublime stuff

My favorite Speysider -- nose is incredible after it opens up. Lots of bourbon notes, vanilla, honey, even some barrel char -- malty, citrus, lemon grass, asian pear, and some light floral and herb notes. Taste - vanilla, oak, wood spice, candy apples, citrus and some herbal white pepper. Kind of oily mount. Finish - medium/long. I think I might actually like the nose better than the taste.

18th December 2015


Sweet Jesus, yes my rating says it all

6th December 2015


A mix of vanilla, honey, pears, apples, a touch of oak and spice in the finish.
Perfect strength, water breaks the balance in this whisky.

28th November 2015

Ian B

Fantastic - just opened a good bottle from a good friend, with a good friend - not disappointed!

15th November 2015

Never Change

Beautiful whisky, I've only been interested in whisky for a couple of years but I know what I like...... Age statements, non chill filtration, and a family owned distillery that has it's own long standing traditions. I'm sure I speak for most people reading this review when I say, Balvenie, I salute you, please never change. Great value for money and ticks all the boxes

20th August 2015

Simply amazing

First bottle of this particular brand from a begginner on the whiskey journey. What can i say...simply amazing. Lots of vanilla, honey, oak, apples with a long citrus finish. Non chill filtered, natural color just as any whiskey should be, bottled at 47.8 % alc. volume which definitely gives it the kick and fully delivers the flavors on the palate. This is a definite must !!! Highly recommended, you will not be disappointed and at 60 euros or 45 punds its a bargain for the quality you are getting.

15th June 2015

Good and thick

So worth the extra $20 over the standard 12 year double wood.

20th December 2014

Thick, Sweet and WOW!

Wow what a dram! I gained this from the advent calendar and am really impressed. It has quite a smooth, sweet and thick taste to it with hints of caramel and apples (tasting notes above are accurate in my opinion). Afterwards the taste lingers and whilst it has a strong flavour it doesn't have the burn you get from some whiskies. I can understand now how it has won so many reviews and will be looking to get a bottle in the future!

14th December 2014

Autumn in a glass

This is punchy up front with aromas of spiced apples baked on a campfire served with ice cream and then with honey and treacle flavours pushing through the mid-palate. It's full of reminders of how I remember autumn smelling growing up, of harvest and roasted chesnuts and just hints of bonfire in the background. The finish is really persistent and spicy.

14th December 2014

Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel

This is a light-coloured whisky with surprisingly complex and unusual flavour. The nose includes toasted malt, oak, and pumpkin pie. A complex palate emerges with elements of spice, toffee, apricot, Dundee cake, and hints of smokiness. The finish is toffee-sweet with mild spice and vanilla. It’s an excellent dram – eminently drinkable and great value.

14th December 2014

A Well Presented Dram

Nose: Vanilla, Homemade apple pie and custard, some spice, a little honey and oak.

Palate: Cream cake, fudge, honey, lemon meringue and spiced apple.

Finish: A long finish with honey and lemon tea, some tropical notes and spiced oak.

14th December 2014


very nice, touch of ice, superb. very pale colour?

14th December 2014

Gets better from nose to finish

This is quite an amazing drink. The nose takes awhile to open up, well over ten minutes before all the bourbon notes are really out in full force. Even then, the taste is much more full and rich with light spices and salty, vanilla-honey-light tropical fruits. It's fully delicious. But the finish... WOW! I've never tasted a whisky where the finish erupted like that. I commend Balvenie for making such a awesome product and I hope more companies start going with 46% non-filtered, as well as first fill bourbon. Put in the extra work to get the extra quality and the consumer is willing to pay the extra price.

10th November 2014

Better after airing out

I wrote the previous review "Harsh and uninteresting for the price" based on a fresh bottle. After having let it sit for a week, it's not quite as harsh and the character comes through a lot better. Still pretty pricey for what you get I think but this rating is just to balance out my previous one.

24th October 2014

Harsh and uninteresting for the price

I've got a carib 14yo cask to compare against. Here in MI, USA it's the same price. I'm not a huge fan of the rhum finish of that one either, but it's *far* less harsh and has more definition than this 12 year old. And as a "first fill", I didn't notice anything that really sets it apart from other American oak casked scotches; it's pure marketing hyperbole if you ask me. Between the two, I'd get the carib cask again no doubt, even though I thought that one was just mediocre. Sorry, Dave.

22nd October 2014

Great nose, unique taste

The nose is quite incredible, pure and clean bourbon oak characteristics. Vanilla, fresh fruits and a bit of spice. And, of course, the honey a la Balvenie. The taste, however, is a bit strange, herbal notes surrounded by sweet malt. Some days it tastes great, some days it tastes odd - the strange herbal notes take over. I find the taste of the 15yo single barrel better, but the nose on this one is just remarkable.

20th September 2014

heavy Bourbon influenced winner

Sweet and spicy on the nose with hints of rye, spice and mango backed up by a healthy dose of vanilla - gets more fruity with water.
Nose similar to the taste, starts off sweet followed by big hit of nutmeg, creamy malt and a little bit of apple.
Spice continues into the finish, with straw, vanilla and an unexpected hint of cherry. Lovely stuff.
If you like your Bourbon matured whiskies then this is a must.

15th September 2014

Better than the 12 DoubleWood.

Definitely better than the 12 year old DW, but I wouldn't consider myself a fan of the Double Wood line. Honey sweetness with a little extra Balvenie feel to it.A superb 12 year old, although for the price point, I prefer the 14 gear rum finish.

5th September 2014

Cask 1717, Bottle 106

Now empty :(

28th May 2014

No Contest

After enjoying the last couple of rounds of my Doublewood 12year old I decided to try the 12 Year Old Single Barrel. I am a novice to single malts but this old Hillbillies face lit up with the taste of a fine scotch whisky, Balvenie Single Barrel 12 Yr. Thank You.

18th April 2014

Worth every penny, schilling or quid

Wow! this is a winner. I agree with the other comments that this trumps the 15 year old. Beutiful vanilla

22nd February 2014



17th February 2014

Buttery Goodness

Smooth like melted butter and vanilla but not overly sweet. Just right for my taste. I love this stuff. Not much smoke flavor to it so if that's your thing this may not be for you.

13th November 2013

Oh yeah!

Tried this at Whisky Fringe 2013 in Edinburgh. Couldn't wait until pay day to buy a bottle. It was, for me, the highlight of the event. So much going on in this whisky. It put a £1400 bottle of 40 year old Glenfarclas to shame. A true stonker!

29th August 2013

Awesome stuff!

If you like to boof, you will love this!

21st July 2013

Vanilla & Bourbon Candy

This stuff rocks. Tons of bourbon and vanilla smoothness with a moderate finish. This stuff crushes the 15 year single barrel in my own opinion. Tastes more expensive than it is!

12th June 2013

Vanilla Dream

Real great new product of D.Stewart. The first fill casks lead to a very heavy vanilla nose :-)) The colour is extremly light and it seems that no colour was added. Great dram that is worth to be tried !!!

26th April 2013

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