Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
. . . but this isn't what I was expecting.
I'm an enthusiastic Balvenie supporter--I love their whiskies. I have at least seven other bottlings, most of which are among my favorites. I've introduced a lot of people to single malts, through Doublewood and the 15-year-old Single Barrel release, in particular.
The Peated Cask sounded wonderful to me; I'm a peat and smoke guy at heart. I live in New York State, but Islay is my default page on Google Maps. Port Ellen is my default location on accuweather.com. I have a map of Islay as my desktop background and Ardbeg peat cones to burn when drinking Scotch with my friends. I've crossed state lines to get Laphroaig 18 year old. I love peat and I love smoke. (Mostly I love Ardbeg.)
The challenge in this Balvenie is that this release isn't at all like heavily peated whiskies that I enjoy so much. Rather, it tastes unexpectedly like a young whisky that has spent all of its aging time in brand new, resiny, green oak.
This whisky has strong oaky resins on the palate, which momentarily bury the deep honey notes that are foundational to Balvenie whiskies--as well as everything else. The honey comes through in a bit, and is followed promptly by a blast of dry smoke, a sharp-edged characteristic that lingers for a long time and becomes more dry and sharply smoky as it fades.
My response to the Peated Cask isn't quite disappointment, but more of a sense of the lack of familiar Balvenie elements, whether finished in rum, port, sherry, or just oak casks. It's unfamiliar territory, which isn't a bad thing--but it doesn't charm me like I have come to expect from each new Balvenie release.
I'll still be first in line for the next new Balvenie release. I'll post a review of the Caribbean Cask, and contrast it with the Balvenie 17-year-old Rum Cask in a few days.