Tag Archives: Balvenie

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.

A cause for celebration.

Ok, before I get started, I know there are a few things I owe you:

  1. More blended whisky reviews (including some Douglas Laing Double Barrel, Compass Box and Eades Double Malt expressions)
  2. A follow up to my Skyped-in Balvenie tasting with the London Jewish Chaplaincy.
  3. Reviews on the Master of Malt 30, 40 & 50 year expressions
  4. Anything else?

So, this is what I owe you and I will get to that.  Promise.

Before I do, however, I thought I’d do a quick post which actually is a follow up to the first contest I ever did.  I gave you a chance to taste a sample of the Ardbeg Rollercoaster if you gave me a good reason to crack open my Glenmorangie Margaux Cask.

I am happy to announce that I have finally opened the Margaux Cask Glenmo!  And though I am still striving for the goal and main reason I chose to open this bottle, I have made some headway.  So, you might ask “why, if you haven’t reached you goal, did you open up that beauty?”  Well, I’ll tell you.

Reason number 1

As you may know, before I started this blog, I ran a whisky society by the same name.  I still do.

Recently we enjoyed our largest tasting event hosted by Mr. Sam Simmons (with proceeds going to my synagogue’s social justice fund).  You guessed it, Dr. Whisky.  We had just over 30 people at the event and it was a total blast!  Sam did a fantastic job!

So, are we celebrating this big tasting?  Yes.

Is it enough for “Reason number 1“?  Almost.  However, I needed more.

What better component to “Reason number 1” than to celebrate Sam’s promotion to The Balvenie’s Global Ambassador!?

Sam, congrats!  After attending your tasting event, and seeing how you wowed and taught my group about The Balvenie and Scotch whisky in general, it’s quite apparent that your promotion is a well deserved one.  Cheers brotha!

Reason number 2

Dag nambit, if I don’t LOVE the internets!!

Over a year ago I started chatting it up with Jason of guidscotchdrink.com (for those not familiar, formally WHISKYhost).  We would twitter quite a lot and I was, and continue to be an avid reader of Jason’s blog.  Heck, I’ve even done a couple of guest posts on his blog where I reviewed whisk(e)y infused chocolate bars: Talisker Scotch Bonbon BarsGeorge T Stagg Bourbon Bonbon Bars.

Recently, and for a variety of reasons (Sam’s Balvenie Tasting being one of them), Jason took many-many hours out of his life to fly out to Connecticut for a visit.

Even though I’ve hung out with Sam before, this statement goes for both Sam and Jason: How cool it was to finally meet someone you’ve been interwebbing with for so long!?

Jason, it was great having you as a guest and hanging out with you!  Sam, see above. 🙂

Reason number 3

Well, I still can not give this away but I will be sure to announce what this reason is when that time comes.

So, how’d the stuff taste??

Looks like I owe one more thing – tasting notes!

When we opened it, we drank to enjoy and celebrate !  Tasting notes to follow.  However, as a preview, I can tell you that it is some amazing fluid!

Sam, Jason, thank you!  Until the next time our path cross again (which I know will happen soon and repeatedly)…  I wish you both the very best!



A sneaky peek at an up coming post – Whisky tasting over the Internets!!

A while back I was asked to be a part of a whisky tasting with The Balvenie and The London Jewish Chaplaincy.  London, England that is.

Time off from work and lack of funds for a plane ticket got in the way of my being there physically.

Thankfully, Scotty beamed me up and I was able to join in digitally:

Also, my buddy Sam Simmons (aka Dr. Whisky & Global Ambassador to The Balvenie extraordinaire) joined in on the fun:

Details, more pictures and videos on this great event to follow.  A big thanks goes out to The London Jewish Chaplaincy, Aimee Jacobs, Dr. Andrew Forrester & Sam Simmons  – it was a blast and I can’t wait to share the details.