The Balvenie Launches A Trio Of New ExpressionsMay 21, 2019
The Balvenie has launched The Balvenie Stories, a collection of three single malt whiskies, which will hit the market today.
The Sweet Toast of American Oak ($60), a 12-year-old whisky at 43% abv, is the creation of Balvenie apprentice malt master Kelsey McKechnie, who finished 12-year-old Balvenie in twice-toasted virgin oak from Kelvin Cooperage in Kentucky for four months, creating a fruitier, sweeter style of whisky.
The Week of Peat ($99), a new 14-year-old expression at 48.3% abv, replaces The Balvenie Peat Week, an annual release that first launched in 2017. (The Balvenie traditionally spends one week a year, just before the silent season, producing peated whisky.) This new label, created by Balvenie malt master David Stewart and former distillery manager Ian Millar, uses barley malted with Highlands peat to produce a gently peated Balvenie expression. “We were trying to take it back to a style we used to 60 or 70 years ago, when most Speyside malts were using peat to dry the barley,” Stewart tells SND. “It’s a more gentle type of peat we get from the Highlands.”
Those first two labels will be permanent additions to the portfolio. The third expression, A Day of Dark Barley ($799) is a limited-release, 26-year-old Balvenie at 47.8% abv, distilled in 1992. It’s the result of Stewart’s experimentation with heavily roasted dark barley, which was blended into The Balvenie’s traditional barley mix. “It’s the kind of barley used by breweries for making dark beer, or stout,” says Stewart. Only 50 (9-liter) cases of this limited-edition label will be available in the U.S. market. Other limited-edition whiskies in the Balvenie Stories collection will be announced in the future.
As part of the launch, The Balvenie has partnered with Celebrated Experiences, a luxury travel company, to offer a New York City whisky experience. A three-story penthouse in midtown Manhattan is available as a two-night package June 19-20, at a price of $60,000, with a one-night option available as well. Designed as an immersive Scotch whisky experience, the package includes a multi-course dinner in the suite’s dining room, chauffeured visits to some of the city’s top Scotch-centric speakeasies, a guided tasting of The Balvenie Stories range led by McKechnie, and a rare bottle of The Balvenie signed by Stewart.
Packaging for The Balvenie Stories has illustrations by British artist Andy Lovell that tell the story behind each expression. In addition, each label’s story is told in podcast conversations and guided audio whisky tastings by Stewart and McKechnie, which can be accessed via an NFC-enabled tag on the bottle. According to Impact Databank, The Balvenie grew 3.6% to 110,000 cases in the U.S. market last year.—David Fleming