The Balvenie DCS Compendium, Chapter Three, Hosts A 55 Year Old Scotch

The Balvenie DCS Compendium, as we first wrote about a few years back, is a series of one off Scotch whisky releases from this top flight Scottish distillery. Each wave of bottlings is generally snapped up pretty quickly by high end collectors with serious cash to spend. Chapter 3 is now upon us, containing in its mix the oldest whisky ever released from The Balvenie.

The Balvenie DCS Compendium, Chapter Three, according to those behind it, was created in this ongoing series to memorialize David C. Stewart MBE, the fifth and longest-serving Malt Master at the Speyside distillery. It joins what will ultimately be a run of 25 rare and vintage casks released over five years and five chapters.

The Balvenie DCS Compendium, Chapter Three

As mentioned previously, Chapter Three contains the oldest The Balvenie whisky ever released, a 55-year-old single cask whisky that was put into cask in 1961. It, like the other whiskies in this collection, is presented in a bespoke walnut and brass frame, crafted by Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery, and accompanied by a book detailing each of the five DCS Compendium chapters.

With only 50 sets available worldwide, this is not obviously something most of us will get to experience. That being said, one set of DCS Chapter Three will be featured exclusively at Ty Bar at Four Seasons Hotel New York and available for connoisseurs to sample by the flight for $5,000 or individual pours of each vintage with price varying per bottle.

“As Malt Master, it is my privilege and duty to manage our whisky stocks, which we look to control despite all the elements the barrels are up against to reach maturation,” said Stewart in a prepared statement. “Through my 55-year tenure working with The Balvenie, I have come to understand the decisions we make when we originally cask, and how they will affect the company and stock models in years to come. I couldn’t be more pleased with the expressions we chose for this chapter, specifically the 1961 Single Cask, which truly encompasses my career to date serving The Balvenie.”

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You’ll find more official information on each expression in Chapter 3 below for your consideration.

  • 1961 Aged 55 years – Cask 4193, European oak Oloroso sherry hogshead, filled 14th June 1961, 41.7% ABV.
    • Nose: Sweet, honeyed, but intensely fragrant with rose petals, lavender, and a delicate spiciness.

    • Taste: Beautifully deep with soft brown sugar, toffee and butterscotch with lingering spicy cinnamon notes.

    • Finish: Floral, creamy vanilla and spice

  • 1973 Aged 43 years – Cask 8556, European oak Oloroso sherry butt, filled 7th June 1973, 46.6% ABV.
    • Nose: Deep, oaky and rich with dried fruit, marmalade, and spicy ginger.

    • Taste: Succulent spice followed by vanilla, dark chocolate, nuts and an earthy liquorice sweetness.

    • Finish: Luscious balance of dried fruits and spice.

  • 1981 Aged 35 years – Cask 7824, Refill American oak hogshead, filled 29th October 1981, 43.8% ABV.
    • Nose: Malty, vanilla toffee and heather honey with notes of lemon zest.

    • Taste: Maple sweetness, glazed pineapple and citrus with vanilla and cinnamon.

    • Finish: Malty and sweet with layers of spice.

  • 1993 Aged 23 years – Cask 11621, Refill American oak hogshead, filled 6th December 1993, 51.9% ABV.
    • Nose: Fragrant, fruity and floral.

    • Taste: Syrupy, toffee sweetness and honey, balanced against soft oak vanilla.

    • Finish: Delicate, sweet and fruity.

  • 2004 Aged 13 Years – Cask 741, European oak Oloroso sherry butt, filled 19th January 2004, 58.2% ABV.
    • Nose: Rich, with some orange peel against balanced oak tannins.

    • Taste: Silky mouth feel, dark fruits and sherry characteristics. Subtle and spicy.

    • Finish: Luxurious and honeyed with delicate spices and oak.