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The Balvenie 17 YO Madeira Cask Scotch Whiskey

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The Balvenie Madeira Cask 17 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The Balvenie Madeira Cask 17 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Photo Courtesy: © The Balvenie

The Bottom Line

In 2009 The Balvenie released a scotch that is an impressive addition to their fine whiskies, a 17 year old finish-aged in Madeira casks. It is a scotch for those who enjoy the softer side of a Speyside accented with the intriguing characteristics of Madeira wines. As appealing as it sounds, there is a catch: as many of my favorite scotches go, this is a limited edition bottling. Though while it's around it is worthy of a taste and is a great predictor of what a whisky can become with a little Madeira thrown into the mix.


  • A luxurious scotch that is great for sipping, especially with a touch of water.
  • If you're willing, it makes great cocktails.


  • Limited edition release.


  • Speyside single malt scotch whisky aged 17 years in American oak and Madeira wine casks.
  • Limited edition release of The Balvenie in Speyside, Scotland.
  • Released in 2009
  • 43% alc/volume (86 proof)
  • Retails for around $100/750ml bottle

Guide Review - The Balvenie 17 YO Madeira Cask Scotch Whiskey

This particular bottle of scotch whisky spends 17 years in the barrel, which is about the middle of The Balvenie offerings. Though, this particular scotch moves from its home in American oak barrels into those previously used by producers of Madeira wines. This extra step adds wonderful fortified wine elements to the scotch, which is, being from Speyside, already tame and fruity in relation to some of the other scotch regions. The result is very pleasant, a whisky you can sip and enjoy without being overwhelmed by any singular aspect.

If I were to purchase a bottle of The Balvenie Madeira Cask at $100 (give or take) I would probably not mix with it. However, the complimentary bottle I did receive allows me to feel less guilt; and so I mixed and it was great. If you are willing to throw this into some cocktails, I suggest sticking with the basics like a Rusty Nail. I also wanted to see how it would fare with fortified wines and it held up surprisingly well in both the Affinity (sweet and dry vermouth) and the Rob Roy (sweet vermouth only). Though, I have to give it to the Robert Burns, whose lone dash of absinthe and orange bitters made such a spectacular drink with The Balvenie Madeira Cask that I dare say it is the best drink I've had in months. When sipping this one straight I recommend trying it with a little water, even you are not prone to doing so, as it releases the Madeira qualities nicely.

Tasting Notes:
The nose opens with a rich, semi-spicy oak with a sweet side marked by vanilla and a dash of honey and soft, baked apple. The taste begins with extremely smooth and sultry notes of oak and vanilla and develops into richer, spicier tones of dried fruits and cinnamon. The finish is medium to long and has a nice, deep oak that is dry and sweet at the same time.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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