Whisky Review: The Balvenie 14 Years Old Peat Week 2002 Vintage
Category: Speyside single malt Scotch whisky
Origin: The Balvenie Distillery
Bottling: William Grant & Sons Ltd.
Cost: £59.28 from Master of Malt
What they say:
Aged 14 Years
The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2002 Vintage) is the result of trials undertaken in 2001 by The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE and our former distillery manager Ian Millar.
At a time when few Speyside distilleries were using peat in production, The Balvenie decided to distil a batch of heavily peated malt, which was laid down to mature at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.
Ever since then we’ve dedicated one week each year, named Peat Week, to using 100% Highland peat to dry our barley. Instead of coastal elements of iodine, salt and medicinal characteristics so commonly associated with Islay peat, Highland peat imparts earthy, woody smoke notes. This means that even though Peat Week is made using heavily peated malt (30ppm) it has an unexpected sweetness deeply rooted in the Speyside regional character.
The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2002 Vintage) is a single vintage bottling, limited and rare by nature. This non-chill filtered expression is bottled at 48.3% ABV and matured solely in American Oak casks, providing a velvety and round taste with woody peat smoke balancing oaky vanilla and honey.
Nose Gentle sweet peat smoke with some lighter floral notes and delicate butterscotch honey.
Taste Velvety and round to taste with the peat smoke balancing citrus flavours, oaky vanilla and blossom honey.
Finish Gentle smoke with a lingering and creamy vanilla sweetness.
What I say:
It has been some time since we sampled a new Balvenie expression, and even longer since our last Peated. Having previously tried the Peated Cask 17 year old matured in ex-islay casks – so the peat influence is developed from the casks previous occupants and not the original distillate – it is hard to find a true comparator to this whisky. I is therefore unique and slightly experimental. I like what some of the other Speyside distilleries have been doing with peated experimentation, especially where their core distillate characters assist. So how did this one fare?
Rich gold (6/20) large tears and thick legs
Dry, dusty, nutty, icing sugar, light & dry smoke, phenol, peat smoke, charred wood, honey or syrup, mossy, engine oil, estery ripe bananas, peach, salted peanuts, flinty and metallic
Spiced chilli jam, honey, charred oak wood, oily and buttery, peated barley, porridge, full bodied and ‘filling’ but a little flavourless on the palate, like a watered-down Laphroaig, cinnamon, pepper and candied ginger spices
Long, dry, peat smoke, incense stick ash, honey, mashed banana and muscovado sugar, dry oak
A rather closed nose opens slowly to reveal a monotone and dry whisky, hints of ripe bananas and honey elude to Balvenie’s sweet spirit character but mostly this tastes of peat but not particularly phenolic, a little nutty perhaps, there is clearly quality here but this experiment is not for me.
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