A dram that displays a none too impressive nose, but the palate speaks to its quality. Hugely malty and honeyed, with the distillate standing front and center alongside herbal-and-peppery mainland peat. Not stunning but substantial, almost with the Indie feel characteristic of smaller craft bottlings. Recommended!
Yeah, I don't know. Not immediately convinced, so much is for certain. Noses a lot younger than its stated age, probably due to the fact that they've stored this in pretty inactive casks to retain the intensity of the peat aroma. Mission accomplished, I guess, because the smoke comes through alright, with the kind of earthy, herbal, farmy quality you often get from non-coastal peat. Behind that there's oatmeal, honey, and malt biscuits. So like the peatiness, the malty sweetness of the Balvenie distillate has been kept alive as well. No fruitiness as such, perhaps a sense of slight acidity in the background. Very distillate-forward nose to say the least. Au naturel, if you will.
Sweet and silky arrival, gets then peppery and zingy, before an unexpected fruity juiciness appears. After that, it's a huge blast of sheer unadulterated creamy malty sweetness (yum!), then the smoke returns with a vengeance as well as a vegetal note (salad greens and spinach, surprisingly). After initial skepticism I have to admit that this one definitely provides a multi-stage journey. Very pronounced and extended development, impressive at this age.
Bitter herbs and spices: thyme, cumin, eukalyptus, sage, and rose pepper, all of it sprinkled on top of some rucola salad. Still a malty-sweet resonance, please don't shoot me if I note the much-invoked Balvenie honey at this point. Essentially, if you like honeyed herbal cough lozenges, this finish is for you.