Last year The Balvenie launched the series ‘The Balvenie Stories’, consisting of three bottles: the 12 years old The Sweet Toast of American Oak, the 14 years old The Week of Peat and the 26 years old A Day of Dark Barley. I will try the 14 years old peaty one that has a price tag of 65 EUR. Balvenie distils only one week per year with peated barley, hence the name of the release.
Cut a just ripe banana in slices, squeeze a juicy lemon over it, crumble some hazelnuts, throw in a vanilla stick and a spoonful of acacia honey and wrap all this is a jacket of peat and shake it in a sack of hessian cloth et voilà: that’s the nose of this Balvenie. Could just as well be a young Caol Ila, which is my way of saying that I really like it.
It is nicely creamy and immediately softly smoky with Brussels waffle, vanilla, nuts, citrus peel and even a salty edge. Stock fish! This is very good (and yes, it reminds me again of my favourite Ileach, so what?).
The finish is wonderfully long on black pepper, citrus and smoke, with a sweet bubble gummy note at the death.
Aficionados of Balvenie might find this a weird malt – because it’s quite atypical, of course – but those who love a peaty dram will like this one a lot, I think.