The (fully) Peated Balvenie
A few years ago I wrote an article on a Balvenie release; Peated Cask, 17 Years Old. I was able to ask a few question sof the Balvenie Ambassador, Dr Andrew Forrester. At that time, clearly Balvenie was already making a peated run, but the whisky used for the peated cask used malt brought in from another malting - he said at that point that perhaps it would be used for a full peated expression, but he couldn't say for sure... a few years down the line and a purebred peated Balvenie has finally been released.
Balvenie run a weeks worth of heavily peated (30ppm phenols, for the peatgeeks out there) barley through their own malting floor each year, a practice which started back in 2002. This Peat Week release is a single malt from that initial run, aged in ex bourbon casks for 14 years. The peat they use is from North Pitsligo, a small area about 40 miles North East of the distillery and so is very much Highland peat - differing massively from the more widely seen island peat, so immediately recognisable in the Islay malts. This peat has a far greater proportion of non-phenolic bio-matter, resulting in a smoky, earthy taste, rather than the Islay's famous medicinal notes.
This is a superb whisky, beautigfully combining the traditional honey forward notes of The Balvenie, with a rich smokiness that carries through. One could even place a few slightly citrus notes in there too, perhaps bringing an "'all in one' hot toddy" element to Peat Week, medicinal in its own unique way.