Blog: Chris MercerThe Balvenie reveals Peated Cask whisky

Chris Mercer | 12 August 2010

The Balvenie Peated Cask is set to divide opinion

The Balvenie Peated Cask is set to divide opinion

The Balvenie Peated Cask is undoubtedly one of the most unusual products to emerge from master distiller David Stewart's Willy Wonka-style warehouse of late.

just-drinks was one of a select few to attend a first taste of The Balvenie Peated Cask 17 Year Old in London last night (apparently, this site has influence beyond its journalists' immediate families). 

Having not been given details of the new product in advance, we were intrigued to learn that The Balvenie has gone down the peated road.

The finished product is nowhere near the hair-raising league of the Islay single malts, and not really even a match on Talisker's peat flavour, owing to the fact The Balvenie Peated Cask gets its flavour from the casks rather than peated malt.

The result is a light peat smoke on the nose, followed through by The Balvenie's core fruit character, with a little wood and spice.

Is it a winner? I'd say full marks for ingenuity, but the jury's out on the result. Given that only a few thousand cases have been made available worldwide, consumer curiosity among The Balvenie's core fanbase will probably sustain sales.

However, there is a danger that this whisky gets caught in the crack. Fans of peat-heavy whiskies from Scotland's Western Isles might well turn up their noses, while those who prefer a sweeter, fruitier touch could baulk at Balvenie Peated Cask. 

Whatever happens, it's certainly an interesting experiment.


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