Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years Review

Balvenie Founder's Reserve 10 Years Review

Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years comes from a mix of Balvenie single malts that’ve been aged for at least 10 years in either ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks. This combination of ex-bourbon maturated malt with ex-sherry matured malt gives a nice balance of the spicy fruity aspects delivered from the bourbon barrels and the darker earthier aspects delivered by the sherry; it makes for a pleasant sipping experience.

The Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years first appeared in the 1980s in cognac style bottles which Balvenie was putting out as a way to compete with Cognac. The bottle, the fancy label, everything was done to make it appear as “classy”, for lack of a better term, as cognac who was kicking Scotches butt at the time – oh how the tables have turned. Since then Balvenie has found their voice, found their look, found their drinking niche and established themselves as a major player in the luxury single malt category that’s boomed over the last few years. Those cognac competing days are long gone.

Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years Info

Region: Speyside, Scotland

Distiller: Balvenie
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry
Age: 10 years
ABV: 43%

Price: N/A – Auction / Specialty Store

Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years Review

EYE
Light Caramel

NOSE
Complex orchard fruit and a bit of tropical fruit flow through with pulsing notes of honeysuckle, graham and malt which get balanced against some darker sweet and earthy undertones.

PALATE
Complex fruit that’s a combo of orchard, tropical and dark fruits. Malt, waxy red licorice and graham round out the flavor with the help of some light notes of cinnamon and anise.

FINISH
Long and malty with layers of fruit, graham and wood.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Nicely balanced, medium body and a soft velvety texture.

OVERALL
The Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years perfectly displays the reason Balvenie has earned the reputation it has. Nice and fruity all the way through with some darker and earthier sweet and spicy notes to keep it balanced. The only real “failing” of this is whisky is that it comes across a tad light overall.I enjoyed everything about this whisky, just wished there was a bit more to it; if it was a bit richer there’s no question it would be in that low 90’s range.

Though sadly the Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years isn’t around anymore; it was discontinued it a few years ago. Though luckily it’s a retired dram that’s not too difficult to come across in auctions or the occasional specialty store and since it’s not a highly sought after release you can usually pick it up for a decent price – especially in auctions. This is an often overlooked Scotch “dusty” that’s well worth a taste.

SCORE: 87-89/100 (B+, not consumed at home)

Balvenie Founders Reserve Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 87
  • Palate - 87
  • Finish - 87
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 87

Summary

Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years is a great sipping whisky and a good daily drinker. If it were still around I’d be picking it up on the regular.

Balvenie Founder's Reserve 10 Years Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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4 Responses to Balvenie Founders Reserve 10 Years Review

  1. Ah – the single malt scotch that got me into the wonderful world of whisk(e)y nearly 14 years ago.

    My very 1st positive experience was with the Balvenie 10 yr Founders Reserve…Fortunately I enjoyed a few bottles prior to it’s discontinuation several years ago (back then it was roughly $30 a bottle – a great value).

    This is one single malt I’d love to see Dave Stewart bring back.

  2. This was my 3rd purchase of single malt scotch 30 years ago. The bottle I bought was in the cognac shaped bottle. My wife, who is not a scotch drinker, was sipping it one evening. I commented that I thought she didn’t like scotch whiskey. She said, “It isn’t scotch. It’s that cognac in the cabinet.” I then showed her the label, and she was surprised. Her mother had the same reaction.
    The problem with the bottle was that I looked for that shape in the scotch section of liquor stores shortly after that, and couldn’t find it. I finally asked someone if they carried the label and their it was in the new bottle shape.
    The prices have through the roof with a bottle of 15 year whiskey going for over $100 per 750 ml. now.

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