Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: William Grant & Sons
Average price: € 90.00
Official website: www.thebalvenie.com
“Peated” isn’t an adjective we normally associate with Balvenie whisky, “the most honeysh of malts” according to the authoritative Michael Jackson. Yet in Dufftown, since 2002, by the will of the then Distillery Manager Ian Millar, evidently conquered by a tour of Islay, for just one week a year high peated barley (about 30 ppm) from Speyside is malted. The work of those seven days results in today’s 14-year-old, aged in ex-Bourbon casks and offered at 48.3% ABV, in its natural color and without chillfiltration.
The glass shows a magnificent gold color with amber reflections.
The first impact to the nose is with hints of wildflower honey and apricots in syrup, typical of Balvenie, to which are added floral notes of rose and peony, as well as hints of nuts, roasted chestnuts and resin. In the course of time an impression of plum and wet grass appear, together with a touch of green pepper truly original. The contribution of peat is translated in a hint of cigarette ash and in the vivid memory of an extinguished fireplace. The overall image evoked by this rich and harmonic bouquet is a flowery garden where an avid smoker has happily camped, leaving without collecting anything.
On the palate, in the context of a body with a non-trivial consistency, we perceive more clearly the sweet notes (wildflower honey and apricots), with a hint of cereals, a sprinkling of black pepper, this time, and a bit of walnuts, while the peat is really just a wisp of smoke: a garnish more than a decisive ingredient. The whole remains inviting, however. After some minutes an aroma of custard emerges.
The medium-long finish tastes of honey and apricots, with a hint of black pepper.
Peat didn’t distort the essence of Balvenie, adding, especially to the nose, an additional level of enjoyment, in a captivating whisky which deserves ample credit and consideration.