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Balvenie unveils DCS Compendium Chapter Two

William Grant & Sons has launched The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Two, which highlights the “complex” way different oak casks influence the flavour of whisky.

‘The Influence of Oak’ is the second instalment from the compendium, and focuses on maturation

‘The Influence of Oak’ is the second instalment from the compendium, which first launched in October 2015 in celebration of the industry’s longest-serving malt master, David Stewart MBE.

The 25-strong collection is split into five different “chapters”, each containing five different whiskies, released over a five-year period.

Each whisky in Chapter Two hails from a different cask style – including European oak Oloroso sherry butts, first fill American oak Bourbon barrels, a European oak port puncheon and a European oak Pedro Ximénez sherry butt – and is aged between 15 and 44 years.

Stewart said: “I’m very lucky to have been trusted to experiment with different cask finishes and even try out my own techniques to see how they effect the distinctive honeyed characteristics of The Balvenie. Understanding how the oak and the previous spirit, or fortified wine held by the cask influences the whisky is a very important part of my job.

“This chapter highlights the complexity of flavours each expression takes from wood. I love the results from the older Oloroso sherry butt, which has produced a whisky with a fantastic floral and fruity nose, followed by a wonderful honeyed sweetness. The whisky taken from the 2001 Pedro Ximénez sherry butt is unusual, it shows The Balvenie as a near liqueur with toffee sweetness and a touch of spicy ginger.”

Price at £20,000 in full, The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Two whiskies are as follows:

1972 (aged 43 years, European oak Oloroso sherry butt, filled 31 October 1972, 52.4% abv); 1990 (aged 25 years, European oak Oloroso sherry butt, filled 3 October 1990, 59.6% abv), 1990 (aged 26 years, first fill American oak Bourbon barrel, filled 1 May 1990, 52.9% abv); 1997 (aged 19 years, European oak port puncheon, filled 6 August 1997, 61.8% abv); and 2001 (aged 15 years, European oak Pedro Ximénez sherry butt, filled 25 April 2001, 62.3% abv).

On the 1972, Stewart said:”it’s smooth and rich, this whisky doesn’t need any water – it has notes of pineapple juice, soft vanilla and honey”.

The 1990 aged 25 years is described as offering “rich and deep with elegant oaky notes”, while on the palate it’s “velvety smooth”. Stewart added: “A lot of people love this style of whisky, it’s a lovely complex whisky – similar to the 15-year-old”

Chapter Two is presented in a walnut and brass frame by Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery and hand-engraved with an individual number.
Each chapter also features an accompanying book featuring a collection of archive imagery from The Balvenie distillery. Written by Dr. Samuel J Simmons, The Balvenie global ambassador, and signed by Stewart the book expands upon each of the five chapters and documents the compendium’s curation process.

A further three chapters are to follow, and will be released annually until 2019: Chapter Three: Secrets of the Stock Model; Chapter Four: Expecting the Unexpected; and Chapter Five: Malt Master’s indulgence.

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