Over the years, Scotland’s Balvenie distillery has released some rare, ultra-aged whiskies, like those included in the three chapters of the extremely limited-edition Compendium series. Malt master David Stewart MBE is the man responsible for selecting the liquid and overseeing maturation at The Balvenie, and with 60 years of experience he still manages to come up with some interesting new expressions.
The latest of these is the The Balvenie Rare Marriages Range. It is named for the fact that Stewart selected whisky initially matured separately in both American and European oak casks, and then married the liquid together in larger oak tuns to achieve a specific flavor profile. Each type of oak brings different notes to the whisky’s flavor profile over several decades of carefully monitored maturation.
“The Balvenie Rare Marriages Range is designed to unveil the intricacies of our whisky in a bold marriage of extraordinary character,” said Stewart in a prepared statement. “This range, made from casks that have stood the important test of time, has a distinct profile and experience which we have designed to reveal the wonderful depth of The Balvenie Single Malt.” There are three expressions available, aged 25, 30 and 40 years.
The Balvenie-Twenty Five ($799.99) is bottled at 48 percent ABV, non chill-filtered and has no color added. Tasting notes include vanilla and toasted marshmallow on the palate, followed by some cinnamon apple tart. The Balvenie Thirty ($2,400) is bottled at a lower 44.2 percent ABV, and has no color added although it is chill filtered. Look for dark chocolate, marzipan and prune on the palate. Finally, The Balvenie Forty ($6,750) is the most premium expression, bottled at cask strength of 48.5 percent ABV with no color added and housed in an oak box made of stained wood rings. Orange, oak, ginger and a delicate fruitiness lead the palate. Supplies are fairly limited, but you should be able to find these bottles at specialty liquor stores in your area.