Balvenie Peat Week is a celebration of peat in a region that doesn’t use much of the stuff. Yes there are several Speyside distilleries that use peat regularly but on the whole they’re a very small minority and so tasting a peated Speyside is a bit of a treat. Especially when it’s from such a venerable distillery as Balvenie.
In Balvenie’s Words: Balvenie Peat Week
“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.”
You all know about Balvenie already so there’s not much else for me to add to this except my notes which are below in the Balvenie Peat Week review!
Balvenie Peat Week Info
Region: Speyside, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Age: 14 Years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Batch: 2002 Vintage
Balvenie Peat Week Review
Apples, pears, honey, malty sweetness, lemon, graham and nuts with a touch of peat.
Honey, graham, complex fruit, malty sweetness, peat and a bit of spice and roasted nuts.
Medium drawl of peat, honey, fruit, and spice.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and a light silken feel.
Balvenie Peat Week is light and nuanced with a honied fruit character that far outshines the supposed 30 PPM peat. That smoky character hides from the nose, peeks out a bit in the palate and then finally says hello in the finish. I was expecting more of a peaty punch throughout, but the peat is so underwhelming that it sits in the glass, and senses, like an afterthought.
That of course doesn’t mean the Balvenie Peat Week is bad, it’s obviously not, but it doesn’t mean it’s amazing either. For me it sits in this limbo of “good occasional dram”. Something that I’d love to have on the shelf and visit from time to time, but not something that I’d consistently pour from. If you’re a Balvenie fan this is a good one for experiencing a different side of the whisky, but if you’re a peat head you might want to move along.
SCORE: 86/100 (B)
*Disclosure: This was Balvenie Peat Week graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.