Unprecedented collection of 25 incredibly rare single cask whiskies and accompanying book honours the unique skills and knowledge of iconic whisky-maker David Stewart
One of the most momentous whisky collections ever created, The Balvenie DCS Compendium, is unveiled today. The Compendium celebrates the lifetime’s work of The Balvenie Malt Master David Charles Stewart (DCS), a legendary figure in the Scotch whisky industry, more than five decades after he first started work at the distillery.
Revealed for the first time at The Wallace Collection, in London, home to one of the world’s finest collections of art, The Balvenie DCS Compendium comprises a whisky collection of 25 single cask single malt whiskies, and accompanying book, that capture the unrivalled skill and knowledge amassed by David Stewart. David is one of only 12 Malt Masters in the Scotch whisky industry, a small band of master craftsmen who have perfected the art, alchemy and scientific understanding of whisky-making, and he is the longest-serving of them all.
In liquid form, The Balvenie DCS Compendium is a whisky collection of a lifetime, consisting of 25 exceptionally rare and diverse single cask single malts curated by David Stewart and bottled for whisky enthusiasts and connoisseurs.
The 25 casks of The Balvenie DCS Compendium will be released over a five-year period in five annual ‘Chapter’ sets, each showcasing five individual casks that correspond with the theme of each chapter of the book. Starting in October 2015, the release of Chapter One comprises of five single malts from five different decades that capture the quintessential characteristics of The Balvenie spirit.
The entire collection includes whiskies distilled between 1961 and 2009 and will range from a minimum of 8 years old to over 50 – the youngest and oldest single cask Balvenie whiskies ever released. Each whisky is bottled at natural strength from a single cask and is by its nature a limited edition release.
In literary form, the accompanying The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by Dr. Samuel J Simmons, The Balvenie Global Brand Ambassador and close colleague and friend of David Stewart, contains five Chapters; each one capturing a fundamental aspect of David’s unique career. The book, signed by David Stewart, will be available with each Chapter Set of the whiskies.
Commenting on the Compendium, Malt Master David Stewart, 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 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.”
On the whiskies, David added: “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.”
Chapter One – Launched October 2015
The theme of Chapter One of The Balvenie DCS Compendium book is ‘Distillery Style’, which focuses on the unique sweet and honeyed character of the spirit distilled at The Balvenie. In particular, it highlights David Stewart’s role in identifying and protecting this style through the maturation process so that each expression of The Balvenie retains an element of distinct familiarity regardless of the type of cask it has been matured in.
The set is presented in a walnut and brass presentation frame handmade by wood craftsman Sam Chinnery, each one engraved with a number to show it is one of only 50 made. Individual bottles from the set will also be available in single walnut presentation frames.
The whiskies in Chapter One, which were all matured in refill American oak barrels, range in age from nine years old, the youngest-ever single cask Balvenie released to date, to 46 years old, to demonstrate how The Balvenie’s distillery character evolves at different ages over time.
The Chapter One whiskies are:
- 1968 Aged 46 years – Cask 7293, Refill American oak hogshead, filled 11thJune 1968, 45.9% ABV. RRP £19,000
- 1978 Aged 37 years – Cask 2708, Refill American oak barrel, filled 11thMarch, 1978, 50.2% ABV. RRP £4,500
- 1985 Aged 30 years – Cask 612, Refill American oak barrel, filled 12thFeb 1985, 54.1% ABV. RRP £1,300
- 1997 Aged 17 years – Cask 5365, Refill American oak barrel, filled 9thJune 1997, 60.7% ABV. RRP £700
- 2005 Aged 9 Years – Cask 6587, Refill American oak barrel, filled 6thMay 2005, 57.5% ABV. RRP £400
(Full tasting notes on each whisky are available below)
After Chapter One is released in 2015, four further Chapters will be released each year until 2019. Each Chapter of whiskies will reflect the Chapter theme of the book as follows:
- Chapter Two: The Influence of Oak
- Chapter Three: Secrets of the Stock Model
- Chapter Four: Expecting the Unexpected
- Chapter Five: Malt Master’s indulgence
The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter One full Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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.
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
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.