The Balvenie continues to flirt with peated whiskies. A Week of Peat is the second in The Balvenie Stories Collection, and this one focuses on Balvenie’s lesser-used flavor component. In fact, they only use heavily peated barley for a week each year! Ian Miller calls peat week the most joyous week of distillation because of the new smells that come from the distillery. After releasing Triple Peat, and Peat Week, how’s A Week of Peat differ from the other expressions?
On the one hand, A Peat of Week is the same recipe as Peat Week, with the same age statement and ABV. Unknowingly, I scored them the same. On the other hand, my tasting notes are subtly different and that might be more of an evolution of the peat (or just my palate randomness). The previous peated expressions focused on the marvels of the lighter highland peat offering a different smoky notes than one would associate with Islay peated whiskies such as Ardbeg or Lagavulin. In my mind, A Week of Peat has a more familiar Islay-like peat. The smoky notes are gentle, still, but reminiscent of Islay while maintaining true-to-Balvenie flavors. Full review:
The Balvenie Stories Collection: A Week of Peat 14 Year Old
Category: Single malt scotch, Peated Whisky
Nose: Wafting honey-sweetness and peat in a beautiful ballroom dance. Crème brûlée is the easiest comparison, with those burnt sugar notes that fit so well with sugary buttery honey sweetness. The char peated note is present throughout the nose, consistent. There’s been a lot of talk of “Highland” peat in previous peated releases of Balvenie, but this noses more like an Islay finished in a port or sherry barrel.
Palate: Plenty of peated char notes hit the palate, that quickly turn to candied lemon spice and honey sweetness. There’s a ton of peppery spice, but it’s really nicely balanced out by the honey sweetness. The buttery acidic note reminds me of a butter-tart. The finish is surprisingly buttery for a younger whisky, but it has that nice peppery note that I enjoy.
Conclusion: A fascinating evolution for peated Bavelnie. Identically in formula to Peat Week, A Week of Peat scores the same though I’ll argue the peated notes are slightly more reminiscent of a traditional Isley scotch than Highland Peat. It’s definitely not an Islay scotch, though, and thus remains a unique character in the growing fielded of peated scotch.