Since 1962 David Stewart has developed an award-winning range of single malts and blends which have earned him some of the industry’s top accolades and helped William Grant & Sons scoop Distiller of the Year an unprecedented five times at the International Spirits Challenge.
To commemorate his 50th year, he will release “a number of exciting launches”, according to brand ambassador Andrew Forrester, who hinted the Balvenie is shaking up its range.
The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask will become part of the distillery’s core range and will be available “everywhere” at an RRP of £42.
Standing next to a giant barrel containing Batch Six of his famed Tun 1401 whisky, in the Balvenie distillery’s Warehouse 24, Stewart spoke about the Caribbean rum-infused whisky, which has been available in the USA for a year.
“I am very proud of it – this expression is a beautifully-rounded 14-year-old whisky,” he said.
“We used a blend of rums from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and a few months of rum cask maturation complements the Balvenie single malt very well.
“We bring this rum into the distillery from the Bristol Spirits Company and put it into our own barrels for six months so that the rum soaks into the wood of our barrels.
“Then we move the rum on to another barrel and fill the empty barrel with Balvenie that has been in American oak barrels for 14 years and leave it to finish for four to five months.
“It adds this kind of tropical sweetness, a flowery and fragrant honeyed spicy, kind of caramel, toffee, citrus flavour.
“It is unmistakably Balvenie but with added sweetness.
“I have enjoyed experimenting with all the rums. I have tried all sorts of spirits – we have used cognac, armagnac and so on but they haven’t worked – but rum works really well.”
Forrester added: “David just gets free reign and experiments with whatever he feels like, and there have been great results – we are expecting more in the future.”
The new expression comes with an ABV of 43% and is now part of the established range of Balvenie Single Malts – 12 Year Old DoubleWood, 12 Year Old Signature, 15 Year Old Single Barrel, 21 Year Old PortWood and the Thirty Year Old.
“We have more news coming up,” said Forrester. “It’s a step towards constructing a taste ladder that will create clarity for our drinkers.
“Consumers need clarity and don’t always know enough about The Balvenie, so moving from a 12 year-old to a 14 year-old is an easy journey.”