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Chapter 2 of The Balvenie DCS Compendium

A year after the first chapter was released, The Balvenie has added to its DCS Compendium, with the second installment, 'Influence of Oak'.

The second chapter features five rare single malts, demonstrating the influence different oak barrels have over the flavour of the spirit.

The Balvenie DCS Compendium is malt master David Stewart MBE’s handover of his knowledge in both written and liquid form that will see 25 rare and vintage casks released over five years. The Balvenie DCS Compendium captures the breadth of David’s achievement and contributions to the industry and his craft.

David pioneered double cask maturation or finishing during a 54 year career at The Balvenie, a legacy most notably fulfilled in The Balvenie 12 year old DoubleWood. This chapter showcases his knowledge and expertise in understanding this process, which he has harnessed to craft whiskies.

The whiskies in The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Two range in age from 15 years to 43 years and were taken from different cask types, including; European oak oloroso sherry butts, first fill American oak bourbon barrels, European oak port puncheon and European oak pedro ximénez sherry butt, with each barrel imparting their own distinct flavour profile to the final expression.

Commenting on The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Two, David Stewart MBE, says: “As a malt master, I’m very lucky to have been trusted to experiment with different cask finishes and even try out my own techniques to see how they effect the distinctive honeyed characteristics of The Balvenie. Understanding how the oak and the previous spirit, or fortified wine held by the cask influences the whisky is a very important part of my job. 

“This chapter highlights the complexity of flavours each expression takes from wood. I love the results from the older oloroso sherry butt, which has produced a whisky with a fantastic floral and fruity nose, followed by a wonderful honeyed sweetness. The whisky taken from the 2001 pedro ximénez sherry butt is unusual, it shows The Balvenie as a near liqueur with toffee sweetness and a touch of spicy ginger.”

The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Two whiskies are:

  • 1972 Aged 43 years – Cask 13134, European oak oloroso sherry butt, filled October 31, 1972, 52.4% ABV
  • 1990 Aged 25 years – Cask 2790, European oak oloroso sherry butt, filled October 3, 1990, 59.6% ABV
  • 1990 Aged 26 years – Cask 7359, First fill American oak bourbon barrel, filled May 1, 1990, 52.9% ABV
  • 1997 Aged 19 years – Cask 7951, European oak port puncheon, filled August 6, 1997, 61.8% ABV
  • 2001 Aged 15 Years – Cask 9328, European oak pedro ximénez sherry butt, filled April 25, 2001, 62.3% ABV

As with each chapter in the The Balvenie DCS Compendium, Chapter Two is  presented in a bespoke walnut and brass frame, crafted by Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery. The rarity of each expressions is highlighted by an individual 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 single walnut presentation frames.

The complete set will retail around £20,000.

29 October 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant