New Peated Single Malt Showcases The Balvenie In Entirely Different Way

The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years
The Balvenie, the most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, reimagines a classic Speyside style whisky with the release of an exceptional peated expression – The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2002 Vintage), available initially in a select number of markets.

The Balvenie Peat Week is the product of trials undertaken by The Balvenie’s Malt Master David Stewart MBE and Ian Millar, former distillery manager and current Prestige Whiskies Specialist at William Grant & Sons.

At a time when very few Speyside distilleries were using peat in production, The Balvenie distilled a batch of heavily peated malt, which was laid down to mature at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland under the watchful eye of the industry’s longest-serving Malt Master. Since this pioneering moment, the distillery has dedicated one week each year, named Peat Week, to using only peated barley in its production, in order to craft a different style of The Balvenie liquid with enhanced smoky notes.

The result of the initial experiment is a classic honeyed whisky enriched with a delicate, sweet and lingering peat smoke that unlocks flavours unexpected from a Speyside distillery and showcases The Balvenie’s truly innovative and forward-thinking nature.

The Balvenie Peat Week (2002 Vintage), released in September 2017, is a single vintage bottling, limited and rare by nature. This non-chill filtered expression, bottled at 48.3% ABV, will launch exclusively to the USA, UK, Denmark and Sweden in September. The liquid was matured solely in American Oak casks, giving the final spirit a velvety and round taste with the peat smoke balancing oaky vanilla and honey.

Commenting on the release, David Stewart MBE says: “Being able to experiment with different elements of whisky making and stock management is one of the most exciting and important parts of my job. The new Peated Week bottling is a result of our continued efforts to innovate and trial flavours not typically associated with The Balvenie. The expression is testament to the freedom we enjoy as a family company, and shows The Balvenie in an unexpected way, yet still remaining true to the distillery style our drinkers enjoy.”

The new release pays special homage to a time when peated whiskies were commonly produced by distilleries across Speyside, including The Balvenie, who utilised locally sourced peat throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s to dry barley processed at the distillery’s traditional malt floor, which is still in use today.

Ian Millar, says: “When we first started the experiments it was an incredibly exciting time as very few Speyside distilleries were using peated malt in production. Along with cask type, there’s nothing quite like peat to change the flavour profile of a whisky, so it was great to have the chance to undertake these experiments and lay the foundations for future peated malts.”

Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie UK Brand Ambassador added: “For anyone who thinks that Scotch is a staid category, this new release from The Balvenie will make them reconsider. Behind the scenes at whisky distilleries like ours, experiments are always going on and almost 15 years ago, we started exploring what it would be like to peat the malt that goes into our gorgeous honeyed liquid for one week each year. The result is something wonderful and will give The Balvenie lovers a chance to see this delicious whisky in a different light.”

The release follows the June release of The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask Aged 14 Years, exclusive to travel retail. Both bottlings will be permanent additions to The Balvenie’s existing range.

The Balvenie Peat Week will retail for £60 RRP and is available from September.

Beam Suntory Presents Peated Malts Of Distinction The Full Scale Of Peat

Beam Suntory

Beam Suntory is pleased to announce a newly named collection of high-quality whiskies from its award-winning distilleries across Scotland and Ireland. Peated Malts of Distinction features four peated malts including new expression The Ardmore Legacy as the entry point to the range, accompanied by Ireland’s Connemara Original, Islay’s Laphroaig Select and Bowmore Small Batch.

The new portfolio capitalises on the company’s leading position in the category and will allow both the trade and consumers to explore an extensive variety of peat flavours and taste profiles. The portfolio launches at a buoyant time for the peated malts category which is experiencing 8%* growth rate in the EMEA region (CAGR 2011-2013).

Peated malts currently represent 17%* of total malt volume sales in EMEA, with Sweden (29%), Germany (25%) and The Netherlands (21%) accounting for over three quarters of peated malt sales in the region.

The Ardmore Legacy is a new expression, aimed at challenging mainstream single malt brands, offering a lightly peated liquid that is sweet and uplifting. The launch coincides with a new identity and positioning for the brand. Appealing to whisky drinkers’ experimental nature, this malt offers an enticing new flavour made from unreleased unpeated Ardmore balanced with the traditional peated malt, which is markedly different from gentle Highland peat whiskies. The bottle boasts a new label and pack design that reflects the spirit of The Ardmore with a symbolic eagle and contour map of Kennethmont, the whisky’s home. The creative design was inspired by the instinctively fearless native golden eagle, soaring the highest heights and protecting the land.

Lee Walker, EMEA Regional Brand Manager for Premium Malts, Beam Suntory, comments: “The peated malt category is a dynamic segment demonstrating strong growth. Beam Suntory has ambitious plans to utilise its expertise and product range to further innovate and expand the category. We’re in a unique position where we can offer drinkers a variety of taste experiences from gentle to rich peat, and we hope that this unique story will appeal to both novice and whisky enthusiasts the world over.”
Peated Malts of Distinction are available across the on and off-trade in global markets and will be supported by global marketing communication activities from October and continue for the run up to Christmas 2014.

The Ardmore Legacy is available in the UK at RRP £29.99.

Peat’s Beast Tasting Notes

Independent bottlings are always a hard sell. A back-bar will always have a bottle you have never seen before, and more than likely will never see again, but on the odd occasion a brand makes the grade and Peat’s Beast is the latest to shine through.
Created by Eamonn Jones of Fox Fitzgerald, a former traveller of the world with companies such as Whyte & Mackay and Drambuie, Peat’s Beast is a un-chill filtered single malt creation with an emphasis on Scotland’s peat flavours. Peat’s Beast tops the phenol level at 35ppm (parts per million of peat) and is produced ‘the way whisky should be’ by bypassing the filtering stage that remove cloudiness when stored. Matured in hand-picked oak barrels and bottled at the cask strength of 46%, this ‘big bite of un-tamed peatiness’ is recommended to add a dash of water to tame.

The label itself, depicting a fantastic illustration of Peat’s Beast by Brazilian artist Doug Alves, adorns each bottle alongside burnt edges and scorch marks. The first of these labels saw daylight August 30th last year and only 5000 bottles were released.

So how does Peat’s Beast fair? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Peat’s Beast

Peat’s Beast – 46%

Whispers of smoke and peat that are gentle on the nose and follow onto the start of the palate. Develops quickly into a burst of peat and creates an instant mouth-watering experience. Smooth finish and slightly creamy, with the peat and seaweed smoke lingering fantastically.

After a couple of sips, you do get used to the flavours that Peat’s Beast produce rather quickly compared to other peat heavy whiskies, which gives it the edge, especially to non-peat lovers.

Give it a go, and if not for the whisky, just for the packaging alone.

You can purchase a bottle of Peat’s Beast here.

Take a look at the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

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