William Grant releases Balvenie Peat Week Vintage 2003

A Balvenie Single Malt with an untypically smoky character

The new Balvenie Peat Week that recently was released is 14 years old. It is a vintage 2003 bottling which means it was only vatted from whisky that had been filled into the casks in the year 2003. Die very special thing about this whisky is already given in the name of this single malt of the distillery in Dufftown: It is a Balvenie that was produced from heavily peated malt und therefore presents a remarkably smoky note.

A peated Speysider

In 2001 Malt Master David C. Stewart and the former distillery manager of Balvenie, Ian Millar, started the project „peated Speysider“. To that time only very few Speyside distilleries used peated malt and the guys at Balvenie decided to do it in a really peaty way and use malt with a phenolic degree of 30 ppm. But despite of this peating the Balvenie style was not totally overloaded: ““Much like the 2002 vintage, this2003 bottling of Peat Week still retains that classic Balvenie house style, with delicate butterscotch honey and creamy vanilla, but with an added layer of gentle sweet peat smoke,” said David Stewart.

Vintage 2003 following Vintage 2002

The Balvenie Peat Week Vintage 2002 that Stewart mentions was released last year and is the predecessor of the new bottling, being also 14 years old, un-chillfiltered and bottled with an alcoholic content of 48.3 % as well. 

Balvenie to produce part of its malt on site

For the production of Balvenie Single Malt Whisky a part of the barley is still being malted on site in Dufftown. Here the floor maltings and the kiln are still in use, different from most other Scottish distilleries that closed their maltings. Since 2001 the distillery switches to produce peated malt for one week every year – the so called peat week. 100% peat from the Highlands is used which – in contrary to the peat from Islay – wasn’t influenced by maritime climate and doesn’t deliver salty notes.

Producer’s tasting notes of Balvenie Peat Week Vintage 2003

NOSE Gentle sweet peat smoke with some lighter floral notes and delicate butterscotch honey.

TASTE Velvety and round to taste with the peat smoke balancing citrus flavours, oaky vanilla and blossom honey.

FINISH Gentle smoke with a lingering and creamy vanilla sweetness


Picture: William Grant & Sons