The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky today announced the launch of The Balvenie Stories: a collection of single malt whiskies meant to represent tales of character, endeavor and craft from The Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.
The Balvenie Stories collection will be comprised of the following three expressions:
The Sweet Toast of American Oak – Aged 12 Years – 43% ABV. “This is the story of the spectacular things that can happen when ancient technique meets fresh ideas,” the company says, as newly appointed Apprentice Malt Master Kelsey McKechnie experimented with twice-charred white American oak from Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky to produce an “even fruitier, sweeter tasting Balvenie.”
The Week of Peat – Aged 14 Years – 48.3% ABV. An evolution of The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years, which launched globally in 2017. This expression tells the tale of Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE and former distillery manager Ian Millar, the company says, using a week’s gap in the distillery’s production schedule to experiment with the use of peat in the barley drying process, having sampled various ages since 2002. The result is a Balvenie expression with honey, vanilla and citrus notes with an extra layer of delicate smokiness.
A Day of Dark Barley – Aged 26 Years – 47.8% ABV. This is the story of Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE and The Balvenie’s malt men experimenting with a heavily roasted dark barley in 1992, the company says. The resulting liquid was originally released in 2006 as the 14-Year-Old Balvenie Roasted Malt; however, casks were retained for extra maturation, eventually becoming a classic Balvenie, but with extra depth and oak notes gleaned from the darker malt, the company says.
The notion of storytelling informs the design of The Balvenie Stories packaging, with each tale represented visually on the whisky’s canister and label in illustrations from British artist and printmaker Andy Lovell. Lovell’s work draws its inspiration direct from the distillery, where he spent time listening to the stories first-hand, before using his gestural technique to build up images that capture the essence of each tale.
Drinkers will have the unique opportunity to hear these stories in full, as told by the protagonists involved, via audio conversations recorded between them and The Balvenie Global Ambassador Gemma Paterson. These special conversations were recorded at locations significant to the narrative of each tale, including at The Balvenie distillery and as far afield as Kelvin Cooperage, Kentucky, where Kelsey McKechnie sourced virgin oak barrels for The Sweet Toast of American Oak.
This audio content, as well as guided audio whisky tastings of each expression with David Stewart and Kelsey McKechnie, will be available to the drinker via an NFC-enabled tag on the bottle that drinkers connect to using their smartphones. This was designed in partnership with connected product solutions company Thinfilm.
The Balvenie Stories collection will be available in select whisky retailers beginning May 2019: The Sweet Toast of American Oak has an SRP of $59.99 per 750-ml. bottle, The Week of Peat is $99 and A Day of Dark Barley is $799.