The Balvenie are large and successful enough to not only keep their full stock of standard offerings in full swing, they’re also keen on playing with all the elements available in whisky production to create more limited offerings. The Balvenie 14 Year “Peat Week” is so named because the distillery has apparently been distilling peated whisky since 2002 for one week a year. Hitching their cart to the transparency train, Balvenie does a brilliant job of listing exactly what week in any given year this scotch was distilled during, along with some particulars about how peat characteristics are imparted to whisky in general. While not part of their standard lineup, it appears that Balvenie is poised to make this scotch a regular or semi-regular offering, even if only ever in limited quantities.
The original Lot No. 40 was released by Corby Distributors in the late 90s under the Canada Whisky Guild series but discontinued it a few years after the turn of the century. Because of the small window of release and amount produced, bottles of it became rare and highly sought after. The brand was reintroduced in 2012 as a premium rye and has continued ever since to great acclaim. Unlike some Canadian whiskies called ryes, Lot 40 is made of 90% rye and 10% malted rye. Nothing that isn’t rye, in other words! Lot No. 40 supposedly refers to a plot of land in Ontario that was the home of Joshua Booth, a Canadian pioneer and politician, and an ancestor of one of Hiram Walker’s distillers. Recently, Hiram Walker has released a cask strength Lot No. 40, which quickly sold out its initial first run.
The Irish whiskey tradition is every bit as proud – and sometimes convoluted – as their Scottish neighbors to the east. Distilled at the New Middleton Distillery for Irish Distillers, an arm of the Pernod Recard, and distributed by Mitchell & Son of Dublin, keeping track of the Green Spot from barley to bottle can be an adventure in and of itself. Regardless, Green Spot is a bonded whisky and one of the few remaining pot still whiskies left in Ireland, deriving its name from the practice of marking casks of different ages with a spot of colored paint to tell them apart. At one time a 10 year old whiskey, the current iteration is made up of whiskies aged 7-10 years. The whiskey has been steadily popular over the past century and more. An older sibling, the Yellow Spot, is aged in Malaga wine casks.