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Balvenie is one of very few distilleries to maintain its own in-house maltings (where barley grain is made into malt), which means it can create wonderful experiments like this. For this bottling, they added a peat-burner to the side of the distillery’s kiln – a large oven used to dry the malt.
Balvenie sourced their peat not from Islay or the Islands, but from New Pitsligo, a small village found in their home region of Speyside. Just as different grains and casks can alter the final flavour of a spirit, so can types of peat, and using Speyside-supplied fuel enhances this dram’s sense of terroir.
This whisky represents a blast from the past, a throwback to the days when most malts had a touch of peat in them, no matter where they were made. David Stewart, the longest serving Malt Master in the industry, states: “With the Week of Peat we’re going back to the way we used to make The Balvenie”. Stewart compares it to the “original peated Balvenie we made in the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.” This bottling is a welcome return of smoke to the Balevnie’s naturally honeyed and citrusy spirit.
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Opens up with an elegant, slightly floral peat smoke, before classic Balvenie aromas take hold: lemon rind, creamed honey and fragrant oak.
A thick mouthfeel brings vanilla custard up-front, as a smoky intensity builds, creating a profile of toasted oak, caramelised apples, more floral peat and smoked marmalade.
Long, with lip-smacking peat lingering on the palate, alongside rich honey, warm oak and subtle dried apricots.