The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky has unveiled the final chapter in The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Five, entitled “Malt Master’s Indulgence.”
The release is the last in the brand’s luxury Compendium series. It is comprised of five vintages selected by Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE, for their significance to his career.
Aged between 16 and 56 years, the five liquids include the oldest ever whisky to be released by The Balvenie – a 1962 vintage taken from a European oak Oloroso sherry hogshead, which commemorates Stewart’s first year at the distillery.
A 1974 vintage celebrates the year of his appointment as malt master, while a 1983 vintage marks the start of his experimentation with maturation. A 2001 vintage European oak Fino sherry butt is joined by a 2002 vintage first-fill American oak bourbon barrel, a smokier spirit that signifies Stewart’s involvement in the reintroduction of The Week of Peat at the distillery after a 50-year hiatus.
“It takes a good deal of time to understand how each cask differs and how whisky maturation is affected by various wood types,” says Stewart. “You need confidence to select casks and know which are likely to achieve greatness. Working for a family company, I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the freedom to make stock decisions based on my preference and vision, with the free rein to pick casks and hold on to whisky, not always knowing what I’m going to do with it, for no other reason than thinking one day it will be extraordinary. For me, this is indulgence in its truest form.”
Stewart was only 17 when he began working as a stock clerk at The Balvenie distillery in 1962. Working his way up, in 1974 he became The Balvenie Malt Master.
The unveiling of Chapter Five follows the annual release of four other chapters since October, 2015: “Distillery Style,” “The Influence of Oak,” “Secrets of the Stock Model” and “Expecting the Unexpected.”
As with past Chapters in The Balvenie DCS Compendium, Chapter Five is presented in a handcrafted frame, produced by Scottish craftsman Sam Chinnery. Chapter Five has been crafted from European oak, which has been fumed to create a rich and dark wood, and each set has an individual number engraved on the frame, showing it is one of just 50 sets available worldwide.
Each set is accompanied by The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by former Balvenie Global Ambassador Dr. Samuel J. Simmons. The book, signed by Stewart, features archive imagery from The Balvenie distillery, along with information on each of the five DCS Compendium chapters, which documents the thought process taken by Stewart in curating the compendium.
The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Five will be available for suggested retail price of $80,000.