The Balvenie Stories: whiskies with character (which quite literally have a story to tell you)

David Stewart MBE.

We’re storytelling animals, us humans. It’s one of the things that make us human, after all. And for a long time, having a way with a great story has been one of the things that makes a good bartender great.

It’s also fair to say that we’re whisky drinking animals, too. The Balvenie’s latest release brings all of that together in three new expressions, under the heading of The Balvenie Stories.

Australian ambassador Ross Blainey and coppersmith Dennis McBlain.

With the aim of celebrating human stories of endeavour, craft and unexpected twists, as told by its craftsmen at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, thanks to the magic of near field communication tech you’ll be able to hear the stories attached to each bottle just by putting your smartphone near it.

Mashman Brian Webster & maltman Robbie Gormley.

You’ll hear the stories in full, as told by the protagonists involved, via audio conversations recorded between them and The Balvenie Global Ambassador Gemma Paterson at locations significant to the narrative of each tale.

“Stories are the lifeblood of The Balvenie distillery,” says The Balvenie Malt Master David Stewart MBE. “They make up the fabric of who we are and what we do. The Balvenie Stories collection tells these tales in liquid form, giving whisky drinkers across the globe a special glimpse into the unique and very human nature of how we produce our whisky. Each expression in the collection reflects this by telling its own story via first-hand accounts and recollections of the many people involved.”

Head cooper Ian McDonald.

While always looking forward, The Balvenie remains true to the techniques passed down by its craftsmen from generation to generation. As in years past, it remains a place run by people – where human touch, skill, and emotion prevail over machine and automation. In this way each whisky produced by The Balvenie tells a human story, evolving with the protagonists and developing unexpected twists through years of maturation.

The three expressions of The Balvenie Stories celebrate this – coming to be as the result of a story worth telling. Whether it was Apprentice Malt Master Kelsey McKechnie using Kentucky Virgin oak to make a fruitier Balvenie, or former distillery manager Ian Millar introducing smoke from Speyside peat, or Malt Master David Stewart MBE using an unusually brittle barley, each expression tells its own tale in liquid form.

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, 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 Stewart MBE and former distillery manager Ian Millar 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 classic 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
The story of Malt Master David Stewart MBE and The Balvenie’s malt men experimenting with a heavily roasted dark barley in 1992. 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 aged Balvenie, but with extra depth and oak notes gleaned from the darker malt.

For more information contact your William Grant & Sons representative.