Another cracking smoky whisky from the newly beloved Peat Week series by The Balvenie. For one week every year, The Balvenie Distillery closes normal operations and distills exclusively heavily peated malt. The peat itself is different from the stuff you'd find on Islay because the organic composition differs from region to region. The terrestrial peats of the highland composed of shrubs, heather, and other highland greenery have a lower phenol levels than the bogs of Islay. Balance is made up by guaiacol and non-phenolic smoke elements. The resulting whisky is something totally different from what the average Balvenie drinker might be expecting, yet familiar in some respects. The backbone of sweet heathery and honey wraps around the earthy smoke perfectly. The sweet vanillins of the 100% American oak soften the kick of the remaining phenols and add nuance to spicy guaiacols perfectly. The higher proof and non-chill filtration provide texture, depth and richness. This is definitely peaty, but there's so much else going on here that I can't imagine even the most sensitive palate wouldn't appreciate it. One of our favorite yearly releases and one of the most innovative products on the market proving that the sometimes stodgy Scotch industry still has some tricks up its sleeve after all.
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