Aged for a minimum of 15 years in a single sherry cask, this single malt is the newest release in Balvenie's single barrel range.
Born in December 1839, William Grant became a cattle herder at the age of 7 in order to supplement his family's income. As a teenager, Grant apprenticed as a cobbler and a clerk, and in 1866, he joined Mortlach Distillery as a bookkeeper. For the next two decades, Grant managed the affairs at the distillery, while secretly learning the art of distillation. In 1886, he resigned from his position as distillery manager and bought a field beneath the towering shadows of Balvenie Castle, which he eventually converted into Balvenie Distillery. Today, Balvenie Distillery, situated in the Speyside region of Scotland, remains one of the most independent and prestigious distilleries in all of Scotland.
Balvenie Single Malt Whisky is made from fresh, plump barley grown on Balvenie Mains, a 1,000 acre farm situated adjacent to the distillery (the farm has been the distillery's source for barley for over a century). After the barley is harvested, it is malted at the distillery with spring water sourced from the rolling Speyside hills that overlook the distillery. During the malting process, the barley is turned up to four times a day in order to ensure that it germinates evenly (Balvenie is the only single malt Scotch whisky distillery that continues to grow and malt its own barley).
Once the barley has been malted, it is milled and mashed at the distillery before being fermented using a proprietary strain of yeast. Following fermentation, the wash is distilled twice, first through Balvenie's copper-pot wash still and then again through its copper-pot spirit still. "The most important reason for using a copper still," explains Dennis McBain, Balvenie's coppersmith, "is that it acts as a catalyst. It removes any sulphur which may be carried over from the fermentation process prior to distillation." McBain, who joined Balvenie Distillery in 1959, is one of the oldest coppersmiths remaining in the industry.
In addition, the size and shape of Balvenie's stills — the stills' necks have unique boil balls that are nicknamed "Balvenie Bowls" — results in Balvenie's signature bold and malty flavor profile. "The size and shape of the boil ball allow for the vapors to mix before continuing up the head," explains McBain. "That helps make The Balvenie special."
Following distillation, The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Single Malt Scotch Whisky Sherry Cask is matured for a minimum of 15 years exclusively in a single European oak sherry butt. The 15-year maturation in a cask that has previously held Oloroso sherry creates a single malt characterized by dried fruit richness, nuttiness and spice. No more than 650 hand-numbered bottles are drawn from each sherry butt and each bottle carries the number of the cask in which it was matured. "Due to the variances of a natural product such as wood, no two oak casks, even of the same type and filled with spirit from the same distillation, will produce an identical single malt," says Balvenie Malt Master David Stewart. "The fact that each cask is unique in this way and that the contents of each cask will taste different is a lesser-known facet of the whisky-making process, but it's a magical one."
The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Single Malt Scotch Whisky Sherry Cask was just released! Pick one up today!
95.6 (47.8% ABV)
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Copper auburn color. Aroma of honey, cherry, raisins and dried figs. Rich notes of fruit, nuts and wood spices. Finish is long and soft, with touches of strawberries, blackberries and cloves.