The 1961 bottling forms part of The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3: Secrets of the Stock Model
Today The Balvenie announces the release of its oldest whisky available to the public – a 55-year-old expression matured exclusively in European oak Oloroso sherry hogshead.
The liquid forms one fifth of The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3, titled ‘Secrets of the Stock Model’, which highlights how The Balvenie’s Malt Master, David C. Stewart MBE, uses his vast experience, knowledge and skill to control an ever-changing set of variables that impact on the maturation of ageing whisky stocks.
The release of a liquid this age holds special significance to David C. Stewart MBE, who this year celebrated his 55th year with the company. Laid down on 14th June 1961 and taken from the cask on 12th June 2017, this expression was specially bottled just two days before it turned 56, in order to honour David’s length of service.
As well as being part of The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3, of which 50 sets are available worldwide, the whisky is also offered in the UK and Taiwan as individual bottlings. The bottles are presented in a beautiful cherry wood and brass frame, handmade by Scottish craftsman Sam Chinnery. Highlighting the whisky’s extreme rarity, bottlings will be limited to just 15 worldwide, at a RRP of £35,000.
Commenting on the release, The Balvenie’s UK Brand Ambassador Alwynne Gwilt says: “At The Balvenie, we are lucky to have someone who has been working with our whiskies for such a long time. David Stewart MBE has been carefully overseeing our stocks for 55 years, and this latest edition of the DCS Compendium celebrates just that: his incredible knowledge of our whisky stocks, and his ability to manage them throughout the years. This latest collection is a beautiful celebration of The Balvenie through the ages, and a real must have for any lover or collector of The Balvenie.”
Bottled at 41.7% and non-chill filtered, the 1961 offers a sweet but intensely fragrant nose, with an abundance of rose petals, lavender and delicate spice notes throughout. The taste evolves into notes of soft brown sugar, toffee and butterscotch, complimented with spicy cinnamon. The finish offers the drinker classic flavours associated with The Balvenie – creamy vanilla, floral notes and spice.
The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE says: “The whisky was laid down at our distillery in Dufftown before I joined the company. It’s a unique occasion seeing a liquid released that was distilled before my time. As a family owned company we’re afforded the freedom to release whiskies when the time is right, and it’s testament to our stock model that whisky as old as this can be left to mature for this length of time. In my opinion, this whisky is a perfect representation of the style of single malt The Balvenie distilled around this time – big and sweet with floral notes throughout.”
The stock model refers to David’s skilful management of The Balvenie whisky stocks. David C. Stewart MBE has elevated the practice of stock control to the level of artistry, giving the Speyside distillery one of the richest supplies of mature malt whisky in the industry, allowing it to maintain a full range of age-statement whiskies at a time when market pressures are forcing many to abandon them. It also facilitates innovation – providing David with the raw material to experiment with flavours and finishes.
Management of the stock model shows how David’s talent as a malt master, and The Balvenie’s unique place in whisky making, is based as much on custodianship and long-termism as on taste, nose and creativity.