Single Malt

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: Highland Park The Light Single Malt Whisky

Celebrating the summer solstice, Highland Park crafted the limited edition The Light. The 17-year-old single malt matured in refill bourbon casks, a stark contrast from its sibling, The Dark, which matured in first-fill sherry casks.

To say I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark is an understatement. It remains one of my favorite single malts of the past year, if not the past few years. The whisky is a perfect wintertime pour with its dried fruits, spice, and overall richness.

With its refill bourbon cask maturation, The Light is meant to be enjoyed in warmer weather. The nose on The Light is vibrant and zesty, with hints of lemon peel, vanilla, and honey sitting alongside the distillery’s signature heathery peat. A floral top note adds to the mix. The palate stays close to the nose with initial notes of honey, vanilla bean, and lemon custard. Heather and a light dose of earthiness develop mid-palate. A light smokiness sits in the background throughout. Herbs and soft bittersweet dark chocolate notes reveal themselves towards the back-palate as does slightly astringent oak. The finish is long, bittersweet, citrusy, and a touch smoky.

While The Light is the complete opposite of The Dark, the Highland Park DNA runs through both releases with familiar honey and heather notes. The use of refill bourbon casks allow for the distillate to shine, whereas sherry casks sort of define The Dark’s aroma and flavor. I like that The Light isn’t necessarily a sweet malt. Those bittersweet and herbaceous notes balance things out nicely.

The Light is another enjoyable release from Highland Park, giving fans another side of the distillery’s releases that are typically sherry cask-matured. Priced the same as The Dark at about $300, The Light comes highly recommended. 8.5/10

Highlandparkwhisky.com

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