The Balvenie unveils first releases in compendium of whiskies


The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 1

The first whiskies have been released in a major new collection of 25 single casks celebrating the lifetime’s work of The Balvenie’s malt master David Stewart.

After more than 50 years at the distillery, he has curated The Balvenie DCS Compendium – named after his full name, David Charles Stewart – separated into five “chapters” of five different expressions each.

The Chapter One selection has been released by William Grant & Sons this week, with single casks from 2005, 1997, 1985, 1978 and 1968 that all represent signature characteristics of The Balvenie spirit such as notes of honey and butterscotch.

Ranging in age between nine and 50 years old, they include the youngest and oldest single cask Balvenie whiskies ever released. All five will be available together at a retail price of £27,000 (pictured).

Another five will be released each year over the next five years, with each “chapter” representing another aspect of the distillery and David’s achievements as malt master.

The themes will be: the influence of oak on whisky; the “secrets of the stock model” and how David plans up to 50 years in advance; “expecting the unexpected” and how David deals with the unpredictability of ageing whisky; and, in year five, “the malt master’s indulgence” – single casks that David has earmarked as something special over the years.

The collection links to the new The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by Dr Samuel J Simmons, The Balvenie’s global brand ambassador, which contains five chapters, each capturing a fundamental aspect of David’s unique career. The book, signed by David, will be available with each Chapter Set of the whiskies.

David said: “The Balvenie has become admired as much for the time-honoured way in which we make our whisky as for its rich, honeyed characteristics.

“After so many years at the distillery, it was important to capture the skills and knowledge that I, and my fellow craftsmen from the distillery, have acquired over the years in a very special way.

“I had a good idea which ones were destined to be part of this collection, even if it took some work and time to track them down. I had to leaf through ledgers, search computer records, and had to hop, quite literally, barrel over barrel to seek them out in the various warehouses.

“I am sure those who have come to appreciate The Balvenie will enjoy taking the time to explore The Balvenie DCS Compendium, just as we have enjoyed creating it.”

David Stewart’s tasting notes

1968
Nose: Malt and oak mingle with brown sugar, vanilla toffee, candied orange, cinnamon and ginger.
Taste: Velvety, with blossom honey, oak vanilla, a touch of citrus and low-key spiciness.
Finish: Gentle, lingering waves of vanilla and oak spices.

1978
Nose: Rich and malty, sweet toffee and vanilla fudge, followed by layers of honeycomb and creamy oak.
Taste: Opulent with honey syrup, butterscotch, creamy vanilla and gentle cinnamon spiciness.
Finish: Lasting creamy sweetness and mellow spice.

1985
Nose: Fragrant notes of lemon peel, layered with heather honey and mild oak spices.
Taste: Fresh citrus, candied orange, a touch of maple honey sweetness, gentle spice and subtle oak vanilla.
Finish: Delicate citrus, subtle spices and soft oak.

1997
Nose: Malty, with vanilla toffee, honey and a burst of cinnamon followed by butterscotch.
Taste: Beautiful depth of flavour with toffee sweetness, oak vanilla, runny honey and a gentle layer of spice.
Finish: Rich with a creamy sweetness and gentle spices.

2005
Nose: Fresh, tangy orange peel, notes of barley sugar, vibrant vanilla and a touch of honey.
Taste: Sweet maltiness, fruit salad in vanilla syrup, a touch of citrus and delicate blossom honey.
Finish: Gentle with malty notes and orchard fruits.

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