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Balvenie unveils DCS Compendium Chapter Four

Speyside distillery The Balvenie has released the fourth instalment in its DCS Compendium range, called Expecting the Unexpected.

The Balvenie Chapter Four features “different and unusual vintages”

Expecting the Unexpected is the penultimate chapter in The Balvenie DCS Compendium, which first launched in October 2015 in celebration of the industry’s longest-serving malt master, David Stewart MBE.

The range includes “distinct and unusual vintages completely different to The Balvenie’s usual style”.

Stewart said: “Despite spending many years studying the science and art of whisky maturation, there are still occasions when I find myself pleasantly surprised with the unexpected direction a liquid has taken.

“The nature of whisky making is unpredictable and in the case of The Balvenie DCS Chapter Four, [it] means a selection of remarkable and distinctly different liquids have been released that would otherwise never have seen the light of day.

“Each of the five liquids in Chapter Four presents highly unusual and unexpected characteristics that we wouldn’t have thought possible from the type of oak they matured in and the maturation time they’ve been given. It’s incredibly exciting.

“Chapter Four gives us the opportunity to celebrate these twists and turns, and allows us to release an extraordinary series of vintages, strides apart from our usual styles.”

The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter Four whiskies is priced at £29,000 (US$37,687) in full.

The range includes 1971, which is the oldest whisky in the range, matured in refill European oak oloroso Sherry butts. It is described as having “exotic spices with brown sugar and dark fruits” on the nose.

The 1982 vintage has been matured in European oak oloroso Sherry hogsheads and has “unexpected notes of dark chocolate”.

Meanwhile, the 1991 whisky is described as a “hallmark example” of The Balvenie in its experimental days prior to the launch of DoubleWood. Matured in Spanish oak, the expression has a “rich Sherried sweetness” and notes of toasted almonds.

The 1999 has been matured in a refill American oak hogshead and is described as having “vibrant coconut notes” as a result of the coopers toasting the ends of the cask.

Stewart said his “biggest surprise” is 2009, a nine-year-old matured in a first-fill American oak Bourbon barrel with notes of “distant smoke and peatiness”, despite being distilled outside of The Balvenie’s Peat Week.

Each set is accompanied by The Balvenie DCS Compendium book, written by Dr Samuel J Simmons, former Balvenie global ambassador. Signed by Stewart, the book features rare archive imagery of the distillery and its craftsmen.

The Balvenie DCS Compendium: Chapter Four ‘Expecting the Unexpected’ will launch in November and will be available in Harrods, Hedonism, The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop.

The range follows the brand’s first three DCS Compendium chapters, Distillery Style in 2015, The Influence of Oak in 2016 and The Secrets of the Stock Model in 2017.

The fifth and final chapter, Malt Masters Indulgence, will be released in 2019.

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