Unprecedented collection of 25 incredibly rare single cask whiskies and accompanying book demonstrate the unique skills and knowledge of iconic whisky-maker David Stewart
One of the most momentous whisky collections ever created, The Balvenie DCS Compendium, was unveiled in London in October. The Compendium celebrates the lifetime’s work of The Balvenie Malt Master David Charles Stewart (DCS), a legendary figure in the Scotch whisky industry, more than five decades after he first started work at the distillery.
Revealed for the first time at The Wallace Collection, in London, home to one of the world’s finest collections of art, The Balvenie DCS Compendium comprises a whisky collection of 25 single cask single malt whiskies, and accompanying book, that capture the unrivalled skill and knowledge amassed by David Stewart. David is one of only 12 Malt Masters in the Scotch whisky industry, a small band of master craftsmen who have perfected the art, alchemy and scientific understanding of whisky-making, and he is the longest-serving of them all.
In liquid form, The Balvenie DCS Compendium is a whisky collection of a lifetime, consisting of 25 exceptionally rare and diverse single cask single malts curated by David Stewart and bottled for whisky enthusiasts and connoisseurs.
Starting in October 2015 with the release of Chapter One, the 25 casks of The Balvenie DCS Compendium will be released over a five-year period in five annual Chapter sets, each showcasing five individual casks that correspond with the theme of each chapter of the book.
The Chapter One Set of whiskies, which is valued at £27,000, comprises of five single cask single malts from five different decades that capture the quintessential characteristics of The Balvenie spirit.
The collection includes whiskies distilled between 1961 and 2009, which will range from under ten to over 50 years old – and will include the youngest and oldest single cask Balvenie whiskies ever released. Each whisky is bottled at natural strength from a single cask and is by its nature a limited edition release.
I am sure those who have come to appreciate The Balvenie will enjoy taking the time to explore The Balvenie DCS Compendium, just as we have enjoyed creating it.
In literary form, the accompanying The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by Dr. Samuel J Simmons, The Balvenie Global Brand Ambassador and close colleague and friend of David Stewart, contains five Chapters; each one capturing a fundamental aspect of David’s unique career. The book, signed by David Stewart, will be available with each Chapter Set of the whiskies.
Commenting on the Compendium, Malt Master David Stewart, said: “The Balvenie has become admired as much for the time-honoured way in which we make our whisky as for its rich, honeyed characteristics. After so many years at the distillery, it was important to capture the skills and knowledge that I, and my fellow craftsmen from the distillery, have acquired over the years in a very special way. I am sure those who have come to appreciate The Balvenie will enjoy taking the time to explore The Balvenie DCS Compendium, just as we have enjoyed creating it.”
On the whiskies, David added: “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 through ledgers, search computer records, and had to hop, quite literally, barrel over barrel to seek them out in the various warehouses.”
The theme of Chapter One of The Balvenie DCS Compendium book is ‘Distillery Style’, which focuses on the unique sweet and honeyed character of the spirit distilled at The Balvenie. In particular, it highlights David Stewart’s role in identifying and protecting this style through the maturation process so that each expression of The Balvenie retains an element of distinct familiarity regardless of the type of cask it has been matured in.
The Chapter One Set of whiskies consists of five single cask single malts from five different decades that capture the typical features of The Balvenie spirit. The set is presented in a walnut and brass presentation frame handmade by wood craftsman Sam Chinnery, each one engraved with a number to show it is one of only 50 made. Individual bottles from the set will also be available in single walnut presentation frames.
The whiskies in Chapter One, which were all matured in refill American oak barrels, range in age from nine years old, the youngest-ever single cask Balvenie released to date, to 46 years old, to demonstrate how The Balvenie’s distillery character evolves at different ages over time.
The Chapter One whiskies are:
- 1968 Aged 46 Years – Cask 7293, Refill American Oak Hogshead, filled 1th June 1968, 50% vol.
- 1978 Aged 37 Years – Cask 2708, Refill American Oak Hogshead, filled 11 March 1978, 50,2% vol.
- 1985 Aged 30 Years – Cask 612, Refill American Oak Barrel, filled 12th February 1985, 54,1% vol.
- Available in limited edition (18 pieces): 1997 Aged 17 Years – Cask 5365, Refill American Oak Barrel, filled 9th June 1997, 60,7% vol. Price : approx. 1099 francs
- 2005 Aged 9 Years – Cask 6587, Refill American Oak Barrel, filled 6th May 2005, 57,5% vol.
After Chapter One is released in 2015, four further Chapters will be released each year until 2019. Each Chapter of whiskies will reflect the Chapter theme of the book as follows:
- Chapter Two: The Influence of Oak
- Chapter Three: Secrets of the Stock Model
- Chapter Four: Expecting the Unexpected
- Chapter Five: Malt Master’s indulgence
The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter One set is valued at approx. 40,000 francs. The 1997 Aged 17 years – Cask 5365 is available in limited series of 18 at approximately 1,099 francs per item in specialist retailers. Additional information can be found at the Dettling & Marmot website.