The Balvenie 12- and 17-year-old DoubleWoods, 14-year-old Caribbean Cask and 21-year-old PortWood are the most handcrafted of all single malts.
Thanks to natural alchemy, and centuries old craftsmanship, The Balvenie is unique among single malts. It’s the only distillery in Scotland that grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings, and keeps a coppersmith and a team of coopers on site. And, of course, Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE presides over the maturation process, making The Balvenie the most handcrafted of single malts.
Barley is grown on the Balvenie Mains, overlooking the distillery. The only modern technology used is a combine harvester for harvesting.
The Balvenie operates a working floor maltings, one of only a handful left in Scotland. After steeping the barley in spring water sourced from hills above the distillery, grain is spread across the malting floor. Here, malt men turn it by hand until the malted barley is ready for the kiln, where it’s dried using anthracite and a carefully judged amount of peat, adding further complexity to the whisky.
The iconic shape and size of the copper stills are two of the most important factors which affect the taste of The Balvenie, allowing vapours more time to mix, before carried up to the head.
Casks are ‘toasted’ to caramelise the wood sugar, just enough to open the pores but not enough to burn too deep.
David C. Stewart MBE started work at The Balvenie distillery in 1962, at the age of just 17. As the longest serving Malt Master in the Scotch whisky industry, David decides which casks can be bottled after 12 years, those that will be finished in oak, or become 21, 30 and beyond.