Scotch

Review: The Balvenie Peat Week 14-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky

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The Balvenie is known for its honeycomb-led flavor profile.  One week a year, The Balvenie distills a heavily peated malt.  That week, known as Peat Week, leads us to this wonderful whisky.  Distilled back in 2002, this 14-year-old expression from the famed distillery utilizes only peated barley – no non-peated malt here.  That whisky matured in American oak casks.

In addition to being bottled at a modest 48.3% abv, Peat Week is also non-chill filtered.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

The nose is exactly what you’d expect.  Notes of honeyed malt, wood smoke, lemon peel, and sweet oak abound.  More of the same on the palate.  A quick explosion of rich, sweet honeycomb and vanilla followed by a wave of tempered smoke.  Some sautéed mushroom on the mid palate is accompanied by toffee and wood spice.  The finish is clean and lovely, with hints of burnt orange peel, toffee, and peat smoke.

I love this “heavy” side of The Balvenie.  I use the quotations for a reason.  The Balvenie’s standard profile is generally that a lighter style whisky, though it still has some richness.  The peat here is not heavy handed.  Rather, it nicely balances with that honeycomb nature generally found in The Balvenie.  Peat Week’s a great way to experience The Balvenie.  At $99 a bottle, this is an easy recommendation.  8.5/10

thebalvenie.com

Thanks to The Balvenie for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: Glenfiddich Fire & Cane Single Malt Whisky

Photo Credit: Joshua Brasted

How’s this for attention grabbing – a peated Glenfiddich finished in rum casks.

I repeat – peated Glenfiddich finished in rum casks.

If I’ve lost you, there’s no hope.

If you’re still on board, Glenfiddich Fire & Cane is the latest entry to their Experimental Series.  Glenfiddich isn’t known for its peated whisky because, to my knowledge, it rarely releases any peated expressions.  We’re not talking Laphroaig peat levels here.  Bourbon barrel-matured peated AND unpeated whisky is blended together and then married in Latin rum casks for three months.  The resulting whisky was bottled at 43% abv and is available in stores for $49.99.

Rum fans should enjoy the nose with its tropical fruit, sugarcane, and slightly earthy peat notes.  On entry, sweet toffee and green banana develop into spiced pears, smoke, and wood spice.  The medium length finish leave a sweet caramel and slightly smoky note.

Delicious.  The spiced pear Glenfiddich flavor profile works beautifully with those smoky and rum notes.  At 43% abv, Fire & Cane doesn’t feel thin.  Though I’d love to have seen this bottled at a little higher proof, it’s current abv serves it well.  Bottom line: this whisky delivers big flavors at a price that will please both your palate and your wallet.  Recommended!  8/10

glenfiddich.com

Thanks to Glenfiddich for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Port Ellen

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Last year, Johnnie Walker launched what turned out to be one of my favorite whiskies of 2017 – the Blue Label Ghost and Rare series. The introductory blend was built around Brora, a distillery that closed in the early 1980s.  I loved the whisky so much that, upon tasting and writing my review, immediately bought a bottle.  I probably should have bought two…

For the second edition of Ghost and Rare, Johnnie Walker Master Blender Dr. Jim Beveridge started this blend with malt from another classic distillery – Port Ellen. Beveridge also used grain whiskies from the closed distilleries Caledonian and Carsebridge.  The three whiskies comprise the “ghost” portion here.  Additionally, rare malts from Mortlach, Dailuanie, Cragganmore, Blair Athol, and Oban are included.

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Though there’s no age statement on the label, press materials state all whiskies used in this blend are at least 20 years old.  The whole thing’s bottled at 43% abv and available for a suggested retail price of $349.99, which is less expensive than the first release.

The nose is rich and full of stewed orchard fruit, tropical fruit, and brine alongside some salted caramel and fresh herbs. This whiskey is velvety and a bit oily on the tongue. More salted caramel on entry, with sweet smoke and spice building. Fresh and candied fruit give way to a sprinkling of herbs, minerals, and tobacco leaf. The long finish sees grilled pineapples and seaweed.IMG_4014-2.jpgTalk about an enjoyable pour! Johnnie Walker Ghost and Rare Port Ellen sort of reminds me of a fruitier version of John Walker King George V. It starts off sweet and becomes less so as the whisky swirls around the palate. Great development of flavors and complexity. The Port Ellen in the blend stands, adding its signature smoke and maritime notes. The old grain whiskies add a sturdy background, allowing the malt whiskies to shine.  Again, a delicious and intriguing blend from the House of Walker. Highly recommended! 9/10

Johnniewalker.com

Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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