The Balvenie 17 Year Old Peated Cask Single Malt Scotch: It’s a new year and we’ve decided to kick off with something a little bit limited. At the back end of last year, we got around to sampling a lot of Balvenie scotch and you can read the notes on The Balvenie Sherry Cask 15 year-old Single Barrel Scotch, Traditional Oak 25 year-old Single Barrel Scotch and the 40 year-old single malt scotch, which as expected was everything we thought it would be. However, this little gem is more left of centre in regards to Balvenie. It is a Balvenie in every respect but as the title suggests, it bears notes of peat. This is not the first time Balvenie have released a peated expression. Some years back Balvenie released the 17 year-old Islay Cask and it was well received by whisky connoisseurs alike. Now back in 2001, a heavily peated batch of barley was distilled at The Balvenie Distillery and was allowed to mature until The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart, decided it was time. However, the production process of the Peated Cask differed to that of the Islay Cask, which was aged in Islay casks – as the name suggests – for six months. David selected casks that had previously held peated whisky that had taken on its character and were filled with 17 year-old Balvenie that had been aged in American oak to mature a little further. The result is an intensely well-balanced, peaty whisky.
On the nose: you’ll get a sweet waft of toffee, followed by vanilla and notes of smoked haddock. This is closely followed by notes of marzipan, liquorice and a small suggestion of notes of a zesty nature. After a couple of swirls notes of spicy oak and cinnamon start filtering through. On the palate: it is less sweet with toffee but more in the way of pineapples. Those notes of vanilla will start to filter through, with distinct notes of almonds and cloves. Notes of a spicy nature will start to emerge, nutmeg and cinnamon, followed by some soft notes of iodine and smoky peatiness. The finish: is medium, sweet, spicy and peaty with lingering oak.
The verdict: Admittedly I’m a fan of the Speyside distillery that is The Balvenie and when I came across this peated scotch of theirs, I was somewhat intrigued . I do like a good peated whisky but I was a little apprehensive, as I didn’t want to be let down. And I wasn’t! The Balvenie Peated 17yo is unmistakably Balvenie but with layers of peat that have been so well-married and give the sweet honied Speyside scotch extra depth. A drop that didn’t need any water – though if you do need to then only add a very small amount. For me, I found when I left it for a short amount of time to sit in the glass between nosing and tasting – this yielded the best results notes wise.
This Limited Release Balvenie 17 Year Old Peated Cask is discontinued but you can still find bottles of this fine scotch online for around £100 – £140
For more information on the 17 Year Old Peated Cask Single Malt Scotch, visit the official Balvenie website.