The Balvenie 17yr Peated Cask

Speyside – 43%ABV – $125 | £68 | €81

Last week I told you about the big Balvenie tasting I organized at my synagogue.  We had over 30 people there and Sam Simmons (aka Dr. Whisky, aka The Balvenie‘s Global Ambassador) led us through 5 of their expressions: Balvenie DoubleWood, 14yr Caribbean Cask (notes to follow), 17yr Madeira Cask, 17yr Peated Cask & their 21yr Port Wood.

Of the 30 plus people we had at the tasting, I’d say about 40% of them were women.  Why do I bring this up?  Well, I can tell you that the favorite dram of the evening was this 17yr Peated Cask and the majority of the women there LOVED this baby.

Why does this matter?  Well, the old stereotype was that women don’t like Scotch whisky (or whisk(e)y in general).  This has since become a bit of a fallacy.  The new stereotype is that women don’t like peated (or smokey) whiskies.  The tasting of this expression last week, and the women’s love for it, helped to debunk that as well.  Huzzah!

Strangely enough, after everything was said and done, and the tasting was over, there was a wee bit ‘o whisky left in each bottle.  Sam was nice enough to gift them to the society.  I gave the DoubleWood, PortWood and Madeira Cask remnants away to a few lucky society members and kept the balance of this Peated Cask Balvenie as well as the Caribbean Cask bottle (for scientific purpose, you know…).

Sam, thanks again for the tasting and for the samples!

On the nose Wow, it’s amazing what a little bit of peat does to this Balvenie!

Smoked provolone cheese.

Salty maritime notes.

A slight smokiness (like a warm campfire smoke).

Instant oatmeal with brown sugar.

Warm honey & peaches.

I want to curl up in my glass and camp out here for a while.  Really loverly schtuff!

One last whiff before I sip on this juice and I get some nice notes of oranges and burnt sugar.

On the mouthNo doubt in my mind, this is a Balvenie – classic honey notes!!

Peaches are back.

Oak is well integrated.

I’m reminded of what Sam said during the tasting – that the peat in this whisky will remind you of a toasted marshmallow (in smoky style, not flavor).  He’s spot on!  The smokiness is just around the edges but no doubt it’s a part of the whole experience.

Caramel arrives with a side of dried apples.

Did I mention the mouth feel is a chewy one?

Slightly spicy and very vanilla’ed (yes, I understand that this is not a real word.  Sue me.)

Finish Somewhat lingering with orange lollipop notes arriving after the swallow.

In sum I’m a longtime fan of the Balvenie’s yearly 17yr expressions and this one is no exception.  This could actually be my favorite of all the B17’s (as I lovingly call them – William Grant & Sons, feel free to use this term in later marketing campaigns.  Royalty free, my gift you).

So, when should you enjoy this?  This, for me, is a cold morning dram.  The slight peatiness will warm you up but the fruitiness will brighten you day.  If the morning dram is not your thing, gather with friends ’round an outside bonfire, queue up some Beach Boys and, later on, make out with your surfer girl!

As mentioned in a previous post, Jason Johnstone-Yellin of Guid Scotch Drink joined me and my society for The Balvenie tasting last week and he went home with a sample of this juice. You can read his notes here.

4 thoughts on “The Balvenie 17yr Peated Cask”

  1. A little late to the party, but I just tried this expression this morning – hey – I’m a 3rd shifter – so it’s like 7 pm for me ;-)…Anywho I agree with the notes above; def a Balvenie with an abundance of honey with traces of vanilla present – however just after you swirl/swallow you’ll find the real treat of mild spice/pepper/smoke following through (reminds me of the Oban 14 yr)…I had heard of this Balvenie expression when it 1st came out a few years ago, but was a bit hesitant (I’m rather indifferent to Islay peaty monsters), and wasn’t sure about making a purchase of it without trying it 1st…I’ve been meaning to check out a cigar/wine/spirit shop located next to my barber…Just my luck they had the Peated Cask; even better was the fact that the gal tending the bar gave me a dbl for the price of 1 (needless to say I left her a nice tip for her generosity)…All in all it was a good day; got my ears lowered, and had a wonderful dram of scotch!

  2.   Mike – there’s nothing wrong with a little morning whisky.  For me, it
    can be a pick-me-up, for a 3rd shifter like yourself, a nice way to
    relax after a long day of work.  Cheers!!

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