Balvenie Peat Week 14
This Peat Week bottling is the product of Balvenie’s practice of making a peated version of their whisky one week each year. This whisky is aged in American oak barrels for fourteen years and bottled at a unique 48.3% ABV.
One of the really fun aspects of this bottling is the packaging provided by Balvenie. The container provides a wealth of information and detail on Balvenie’s use of Highland Peat and how that differs from whiskies that use Islay Peat.
Here are images of some of the detail provided:
Highland Peat is said to have a more earthy campfire type peat. It has less Phenol than than Islay Peat, and thus would be expected to have less medicinal iodine influences.
The nose on this brings the comfortably familiar elements associated with this quality Speyside whisky. I sense honey, pear and citrus with a very subtle tease of peat. More sweet floral and citrus than peat.
On the palate, the first impression is honey, orange marmalade, and an oak wood vanilla. A bit of nutmeg-like spice arrives before the peat. The peat is subdued, not as salty, more earthy than Islay whisky expressions. The peat/smoke infuses the sweet Balvenie flavor profile, but more as an enhancement than a primary element. It makes me think of something sweet, like an orange, that has been lightly smoked, but not grilled.
The finish is medium, honey and citrus elements that taper to a lingering peat. I sense the earthy peat here more than on the palate, and certainly more than on the nose.
This is a great whisky that blends the Speyside sweetness of Balvenie with a nuanced peat element. It would be a mistake to think of it as equivalent to the peaty expressions of Islay scotch, or even to Highland peaty scotches. If your preferences lean toward Islay and other heavily peated scotches, and you wanted to sample a Speyside whisky, this might be a more intriguing variation – introducing a lightly peated expression. I also think it would be fun to do a bit of a comparison with some of the Highland peaty scotches.
This is a great addition to my single malt scotch collection. It is a bottle that will likely have a short half-life in my Scotch cabinet. And, each time I sample it, I will recall the pleasure of working with the colleagues who gave me a bottle of this unique whisky.
It has also pointed me in the direction of my next tasting note. I have a Balvenie 15 at a similar 47.8% ABV, which would help me more directly experience how the extra peat has influenced the Balvenie character. I also have a Balvenie 17 Peated Cask bottling, at a lower 43% ABV that was not distilled with extra peat influence, but was matured in heavily peated casks. I anticipate a fun adventure ahead.