Whisky Advocate

Two new Balvenie releases

August 26th, 2010

We are being blessed with two new Balvenie releases, a Peated Cask and a Caribbean Cask. Both press releases explaining the details of the whiskies, along with images, are below. I’ll be receiving review samples shortly and will let you know my thoughts after I taste them.



Most Handcrafted Single Malt Introduces Limited Edition, Collectible Whisky

The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted Single Malt Scotch Whisky, today announced the launch of a new and much-anticipated limited edition expression: The Balvenie Peated Cask aged 17 years.  Available starting in September 2010, this latest addition to the lauded Balvenie 17 Year Old range is an exciting marriage of Single Malt Scotch whiskies aged in special peated casks and finished in new American oak.

Like past 17 Year Old Balvenie expressions – which include the highly sought-after Islay Cask, Sherry Oak, New Oak, New Wood, Rum Cask and last year’s Madeira Cask – this latest offering is the brainchild of the Balvenie master distiller David Stewart.  More than 45 years of experience have given David an unparalleled expertise in single malt maturation. With a strong desire to experiment, David continues to look at the effects of age and wood upon The Balvenie spirit. The Balvenie Peated Cask is the result of David’s latest work and retains The Balvenie’s traditional honeyed complexity, but introduces layers of rich spice and smoke on the nose and palate.

In 2001, a heavily peated batch of barley was bought from a local supplier and distilled at The Balvenie Distillery. The distilled liquid was allowed to mature until David decided it was time to rejuvenate the maturation process and so the whisky was transferred to newly prepared traditional casks.

The casks that had originally held the peated liquid had taken on much of its character but were without purpose, until David decided to experiment by filling them with 17 year old Balvenie for a short period. The result was an intensely peaty whisky. Marrying this liquid with 17 year old Balvenie finished in new American oak casks produced a hugely complex single malt, rich and spicy with layers of smokiness.

David Stewart comments: “In the crafting of The Balvenie Peated Cask, we wanted to explore the impact of peat and new American oak upon The Balvenie single malt. What we have created is a wonderfully complex and unique whisky which is layered with spice and smoke whilst retaining the characteristic honeyed sweetness inherent to The Balvenie.”

The Balvenie Peated Cask will be available throughout the US from September 2010 for $129.99.


Most Awarded Single Malt Adds Touch of Spice to its Core Range with The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask

The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted Single Malt Scotch Whisky, today announced the newest addition to its collection of award- winning Single Malts – the Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask.  Available nationwide starting in September, this rich and intense new expression will line up alongside the already established range of Balvenie single malts – 12 Year Old Doublewood, 15 Year Old Single Barrel and recent IWSC Trophy Winner 21 Year Old Portwood – as a permanent fixture in the Balvenie range.

This exciting new expression follows the acclaim of 2008’s limited edition Balvenie 17 Year Old Rum Cask, and the subsequent popularity of rum cask-finished whiskies, with a whisky that bears all the hallmarks of the Balvenie, but with an added level of complexity that comes from finishing the whisky in casks that once held Caribbean rum.  After a 14 year maturation period in traditional oak whisky casks, the Balvenie is then transferred to the rum casks, leading to an exceptional Single Malt that exemplifies the signature smooth, honeyed character of the Balvenie, while adding unique notes of toffee and fruit that come from its innovative cask finish.

The outstanding quality of The Balvenie is a result of the unique craftsmanship retained by The Balvenie Distillery. Nowhere else is there a distillery that still grows its own barley, malts in its own traditional floor malting, employs a team of coopers to tend its casks, a coppersmith to maintain its stills and has in its service David Stewart, the most experienced Malt Master in Scotland, whose innovative approach to cask finishing has set a new standard in Single Malts.

Said Stewart of this new release, “We’ve found that many years maturation in traditional oak whisky casks followed by a few months of rum cask maturation complements The Balvenie single malt very well, and this expression is a beautifully rounded 14-year-old whisky that combines traditional Balvenie vanilla notes with rich toffee, a hint of fruit and a warm, lingering finish.”

 The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask is available nationwide starting in September with a recommended retail price of $59.99. 

17 Responses to “Two new Balvenie releases”

  1. Rick Duff says:

    It’s nice to see a somewhat reasonable price on the rum finish. Their previous one I was very interested in however found it too expensive. I’ll be looking for a bottle of this one.

  2. DavidG says:

    For anyone concerned about the Travel Retail / Wide Release issue – the Balvenie 14 year old was a duty free only item for about a year, and here it is, in wide release. Personally, I found blending the 17 year old with the 14 year old was a sweet spot in taste for me.

    • smsmmns says:

      Just to clarify, this is a new whisky, created for the US and Canadian markets, not and extension of the Travel Retail/Duty Free GOLDEN CASK I think you may be referring to.

  3. Sound good to me – just need to taste!

  4. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    the Carribean Rum reminds me of the Balvenie Golden Cask. Very much so.

    Another “travel retail exclusive” of which we were talking about.

    The strength has changed, though. The age is the same.


  5. George Jetson says:

    One wonders whether “Carribean rum” is a way to avoid the Glenfiddich Havana Reserve debacle from a few years back.

  6. MrTH says:

    “The world’s most handcrafted Single Malt Scotch Whisky….” Oh pa leeze.

  7. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    I do not want to spoil the fun nor the exitement…

    In a publication on whisky some time ago (could be 2 years already) the master blender of Glenfiddich distillery reported that the Glenfiddich 21 at that time called Havanna Reserve followed by Gran Reserva and today 21yo Carribean rum finished did not come from original rum casks.

    He told the story that Glenfiddich bought Carribean rum in bulk and put it into ex-bourbon casks for a while. The rum is sold on and the conditioned ex-bourbon casks are used to finish the 21 yo.

    We were talking about the term “wine treated cask” in another forum the other day. If the above is true and I have no reason to doubt it you could call the making of the 21 yo “coming from rum treated casks”.

    If this holds true for Glenfiddich…


  8. B.J. Reed says:

    Will be interesting to compare the peated Balvanie to the Islay Cask

  9. Mike says:

    Tried both last night. Like the Rum, not a fan of the Peated. But that is a matter of personal taste. They have this huge line of unique one offs now. A bit confusing, but fun to try. Always up for a new twist on an excellent product. I enjoy the standard 21 and 25 on occasion and stock the 12 Doublewood for parties. No one has ever been disappointed.

    • smsmmns says:

      Glad you enjoyed last night, Mike, but just to clarify, the range we had available for you to taste in the Warehouse 24 VIP room were not “one-offs” but rather a collection of past, present, and future releases of Balvenie, many never available in this country, from the old triangular 8yo to the 1978 Vintage, to latest 17yo Peated Cask.
      I do apologize if the abundance of choice was confusing. If we can ever do a similar event again, I will be sure to post a large menu/chalkboard. Glad you like the 25, and worth noting that it was the first bottle that got emptied last night so you are not alone! Cheers

      • John Hansell says:

        Sam, how would you compare the Peated Cask to the Islay Cask? I have a review sample of the Peated Cask but don’t have an open bottle of the Islay Cask. (Sound like a good excuse to open up my bottle…)

        I LOVE the 25. One of my favorite Balvenie whiskies.

        And glad to see you got a bottle of the triangular 8 yr old. I still set my bottle aside if you do one of these tastings at a WhiskyFest.

        • smsmmns says:

          Sorry, John. Way late on this. (Need to click follow up box!)
          For me, Islay Cask had more fruit, the peat effect was more tarry, and the whisky was more subtle overall. Peated Cask is a bigger and bolder Balvenie, big vanilla, drying, and the peat comes across as charry or even toasty/burnt. I look forward to holding a head to head, too!
          Hope I can get over for April 15.

  10. butephoto says:

    I have only tried the peated one and it was good, but not great. Not sure I get it really. But hey, some will love it.

    I’m not a fan of rum-finished whisky at all. Usually too sweet for my palate and the Glenfiddich 21yo mentioned above is my least favourite of their range. Again, I’m sure some will love it.

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