WHAT A SCOTCH COMPENDIUM: CELEBRATING BALVENIE’S MALT MASTER DAVID STEWART

Anything from The Balvenie’s extensive catalogue is an absolute staple in a whisky lovers’ special cabinet. They’ve long been a producer of some of the finest spirits around and last year, their malt master David Stewart was awarded with an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II herself, for services to the Scotch Whisky industry during his career.

A career which has thus far spanned fifty-four years and solidified him as a true legend in distilling circles, and the longest serving malt master (a highly coveted job title) in known history.

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As a rare and unique way to ‘hand over the baton’ so to speak to the next generation of distillers at Balvenie, David is releasing twenty-five single cask whiskies over the next five years, segmented into ‘chapters’ of five bottles, all hand-selected from his rarest and most favoured barrels and all with their own corresponding compendium (the whole range is actually called the DCS Compendium), so that his knowledge and profound understanding of his craft may be shared for many years to come.

On choosing these whiskies, David says ‘selecting the casks for this compendium was never really work. I had a good idea which ones were destined to be part of this collection, even if it took some work and time to track them down. I had to leaf though ledgers, search computer records, and had to hop, quite literally, barrel over barrel to seek them out in the various warehouses. But not unlike the rest of the past fifty-three years, I have loved every minute of it’.

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Before you jump for joy at the opportunity to gulp down a glass or two of Scottish malt history, it should probably be noted that the first chapter is currently available through Dan Murphy’s for $57 000, and it’s doubtful the next four releases are going to hit the bargain bin anytime soon, but given the rarity and clever way in which this concept has been executed, The Balvenie can be forgiven for knowing the exact value of fifty-four years spent perfecting their delicious product.

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Report by Joe Cutcliffe for Man of many