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The Balvenie reveals DCS Compendium Chapter 3

The Balvenie has revealed The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3: Secrets of the Stock Model. The range comprises five single cask single malt bottlings, including a 55-year-old European oak Oloroso sherry hogshead from 1961, which is the oldest whisky to ever be released by the distillery.

The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3 highlights the way in which The Balvenie’s malt master, David C Stewart MBE uses his experience, knowledge and skill to control an ever-changing set of variables that impact the maturation of ageing whisky stocks.

The final expressions chosen for Chapter 3 each represent a year relevant to the evolution of The Balvenie.

The 1961 is the oldest whisky in the set. David describes it as ‘a perfect depiction of the style of whisky The Balvenie distilled around this time’. The 1973 European oak Oloroso sherry butt expression signifies the years of production during the whisky boom of the 1970s, while the 1981 refill American Oak hogshead represents the first vintage the distillery would have used to produce DoubleWood when it launched in 1993.

The 23-year-old whisky matured in refill American oak hogshead from 1993 represents the year the range was re-imagined in the bottle it still uses today, as well as the first use of the term “DoubleWood”, which introduced the double cask maturation process David pioneered. The 2004 vintage bottling marks two very special occasions in the distillery’s history – David’s 30th year as malt master and the same year he introduced The Balvenie Thirty.

Commenting on The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3, David C Stewart MBE, says: “In my role as malt master one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding aspects is the management of our large and precious whisky stocks. This chapter is a tribute to the strategic decisions we’ve made over the years, as we look to control stock management variables such as industry demand, new innovations and of course the angels’ share.

“Understanding these decisions and how they will affect the company in years to come has allowed me to experiment with different techniques and finishes, while still holding on to a significant amount of high quality mature whisky stock for future bottlings. I’m thrilled with the expressions chosen for this chapter and the significance they have in telling the history of The Balvenie.”

The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3 is presented in a cherry wood and brass frame, crafted by Scottish craftsman Sam Chinnery. Each set is highlighted by a number engraved on the presentation case, showing it is one of just 50 sets available worldwide. Individual bottles from the set will also be available in a single cherry wood presentation frame.

The unveiling follows the release of The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 1 and 2 in October 2015 and 2016 respectively. The Balvenie DCS Compendium is a celebration of David, the industry’s longest-serving Malt Master, and is comprised of 25 exceptionally rare single cask single malts. The compendium represents in liquid the handover of his skill and knowledge to future generations of craftsmen at the distillery.

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.”

Each set is accompanied by The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by Dr. Samuel J Simmons, The Balvenie global ambassador. The book, which is signed by David, features rare archive imagery from The Balvenie Distillery, along with information on each of the five DCS Compendium chapters, which documents the process taken by David in curating the compendium. A second edition of the book will be released alongside Chapter 3, updated in light of David receiving an MBE in 2016 for his services to the Scotch whisky industry.

23 October 2017 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor