Article by Ian Buxton
Renowned Speyside single malt The Balvenie, a dram with a stellar reputation amongst connoisseurs, pushed itself to new levels recently with the launch of not one but two 50 year old single cask bottlings.
At a time when aged expressions are growing increasingly rare and sought-after this was a noteworthy event, marked by The Balvenie with a collaboration with Morgan Cars and a gourmet dinner at Dunblane’s Cromlix House Hotel.
A fleet of gleaming Morgans ferried guests around the Perthshire hills in glorious Autumn sunshine before returning to the hotel for a tutored tasting of these exceptional whiskies.
Remarkably the two casks exhibit quite different characteristics. David Stewart, Balvenie’s long-standing Malt Master explained “Although beginning with the same origins, cask number 4567, given that it is a single malt, has a deep reddish hue and a beautifully full taste characterised by dark fruits and spice, expected of the European oak cask in which the whiskies were matured.
The Fifty Year Old from Cask number 4570 is different, with a rich golden hue and a remarkable elegant oak and vanilla sweetness.”
Around 130 bottles of each are available, priced at £26,500. Both expressions have been hand-filled at The Balvenie distillery into handblown glass bottles and are presented in two very special wooden cases. Handmade by Scottish craftsman Sam Chinnery, the cases consist of forty-nine layers of wood and a closing layer in brass, which echoes the fittings of the distillery’s stills and spirit safes.
The link with Morgan Cars echoed the traditional values; family ownership and hand-crafted nature of both company’s products, reinforced by The Balvenie’s recent decision to purchase their own four-seat Roadster in the brand livery.
And if the 50 year old Balvenie doesn’t rev your motor then consider the distillery’s most recent Tun 1509 – a comparative bargain at £225 which is sure to be quickly snapped up by the brand’s legions of eager fans.