Balvenie 17 Year Peated Cask

Balvenie 17 BOne of the larger producers of single malts in the Speyside region, the Balvenie is no stranger to creating new expressions, be they of limited offering or part of their main range. A newer release has been several whiskies aged 17 years, such as a Doublewood and this Peated Cask. The spirit is aged in ex-American bourbon barrels, but then some of it is finished in peated barrels and half is aged in new American oak. The two elements are finally brought together for balance. This allows a peat injection to the relatively lighter malt without overwhelming it.

Distillery: The Balvenie
Region: Speyside
Age: 17 years
Strength: 43%
Price: $99.99
Location: Dufftown
Maturation: Heavily peated and new American oak casks
Nose: Cinnamon, nutmeg, grass, floral, grain, honey, smoke
Palate: Hay, apple, honey, peat
Finish: Honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, peat

Comments: While we’ve reviewed the 12 year and 14 year from our individual stocks, this is the club’s first Balvenie selection. Hopefully not the last!

Adam – Floral and sweet on the nose. Rich, light taste blossoms like a tumbleweed of love across the landscape of your palate before transitioning into peat and honey on the finish. The taste feels like it rolls from the primary floral flavors right into the finish so that you’re not sure if you’ve swallowed or the whisky has simply absorbed into your mouth. The touch of peat was the right choice, carried by the refined base spirit. Remarkably seamless. Spring in a bottle.

Jenny – On the noseit’s very floral, with a little bit of smoke and peat. I like it because it makes me think of spring from all the floral notes. When I drink it, a lot of that floral comes through on the tongue and I get a little bit of honey, very light smoke and light peat. The flavor blooms like a flower in your mouth. And it lingers for a little bit, a smidge of warmth. It makes me think of grass covered hills and wildflowers and the sun, and it makes me happy. 

Meghan – The nose and palate don’t quite match up on this one but that is okay. The nose has a lot of warm spice that doesn’t really come into play in the mouth until the very end. It has a very clean peat taste, if that makes any sense. Less smoke than an Islay or our Balvenie standby, the Doublewood. The grass to spice taste transition is quite unique. Although I noted some of the flora on the nose, I did not pick up the same spring-like freshness others noticed. However, there is a light brown/tan color taste with a hint of green to this Scotch. Perhaps the taste of new grass working its way through its dead, wintered brethren.

Henry – This one was a challenge. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. A lovely nose – floral up front, yielding to vanilla and toast with the lightest hint of peat. Sweetness and light on the palate, fading to smoke like a sky at sunset. A clean finish, with smoke lingering. Delicious. I love a whisky that takes your senses on a journey, and this one does not disappoint. So here’s the question: why not just add some peated barley to the mash? Why smoke the wood? Should I care? I’ll ruminate on that while I pour myself another dram.

Michael – Partially because we’re moving into spring, it feels very spring-like, very seasonally appropriate. It has a fresh and bright flavor to it with these hints of honey and fruit which I really like right now. It also has a subtle hint of peat. I’d usually like a lot more, but I’m less a fan of peat when we move into the spring and summer months. That hint of peat is a nice compliment to the base flavors already there. 

Mary-Fred – The grass flavor is dominant for me. It’s really fresh and expansive. It opens up the palate and goes on down.