Ballantine's The Glenburgie 15 Years Old

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A couple of years back I was turned onto Glenburgie during a chance encounter at a New Brunswick liquor store and since then I've kept my eye out for other bottlings of this somewhat hard-to-find Speyside single malt. 

So, when I discovered this distillery label release of Glenburgie 15 years old on LCBO shelves this past December, I leapt at the opportunity to try it. For the first time in Ontario, the so-called "heart of Ballantine's" blended Scotch whisky is available as an aged, stand-alone offering and is bottled at 40% ABV. 

Similar to Dewar's "Last Great Malts" product launch a couple of years back which released a handful of single malts typically destined for blending as stand alone bottles; the Chivas and Glenlivet Group is offering whisky enthusiasts access to the core malts that make up it's flagship Ballantine's blend: Miltonduff, Glentauchers and Glenburgie. Typically, these malts are only available through independent bottlers and so it was quite a surprise to me to see them all appear under their original distillery labelling and aged to a very respectable 15 years. 

I quite enjoyed the Gordon and MacPhail 10 year old expression but how would this older bottling, matured exclusively in ex-bourbon American oak, hold up to my reference point?
Nose: Fruity notes of red apples and pears along with a whiff of vanilla.

Palate: Muddled stewed fruit flavours of apples, pears, lychee and citrus peel with a texture and sweetness of thinned honey. This light-to-medium bodied dram shows additional notes of white chocolate fudge and warming ginger 

Finish: Dry and relatively short-lived with caramel, orange peel, and something almost nutty on the finish.

Overall: This distillery labeled release of Glenburgie 15 years old is a straight-forward dram with a dry, fruity profile. While I think I prefer the G&M bottling over this one, it's still worth a buy at $73.80 in the LCBO especially given its relative rarity. Although it's not particularly complex, this version of Glenburgie offers great value to whisky geeks seeking single malts from distilleries whose output is typically relegated to blending. After all, it's not often you can find a 15yr old single malt in the LCBO under $80!

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