Single malt Scotch whisky distillery The Balvenie has launched its final instalment of The Craftsmen’s Dinner, a series of short films hosted by Michelin starred chef Michel Roux Jr.
Spending a week at the distillery, Michel aims to understand the elements of craft which go into The Balvenie, and meets three expert craftspeople who shape the whisky.
Firstly, Michel meets maltman John Evans, whose team is in charge of taking care of the barley, turning it by hand and operating a working floor maltings, one of only a handful left in Scotland. Next he meets George Singer, a coppersmith who maintains the copper stills where the essential process of distillation happens, and finally, Kelsey McKechnie, whisky technologist, who monitors the maturation, flavour and blend of the whisky until it’s ready to be bottled.
Michel doesn’t believe in “cooking by numbers”. He uses his senses, skills and experience to perfect the taste in his dishes – the same way the craftspeople use their classic techniques to create The Balvenie.
From tending to the barley, to blending and maturing the whisky, the series highlights that each stage in the process is integral to the taste. Michel’s key take out is that true craft needs a human touch.
Michel said: “I have been involved with The Balvenie whisky over the past few years as I want to seek out craftsmanship in new places and bring people’s attention to it.
“As craftspeople, we feed off each other’s passions and by immersing myself in George, Kelsey and John’s crafts I have truly been inspired.
“We live in an increasingly fast paced world, technology is thriving and amazing innovations result from this, but craft is one thing I believe will never be replaced by machines. A human touch and staying true to your roots is important and once you understand the level of commitment that goes into making The Balvenie, you will begin to understand what makes it so great.”
The series concludes with the three-course Craftsmen’s Dinner hosted at The Balvenie House and curated by Michel Roux Jr, with the menu inspired by The Balvenie craftspeople.
You can watch the final series of The Craftsmen’s Dinner here.