The Balvenie Drops A High End, Over $40k Scotch Single Malt

The Balvenie is a Scotch single malt brand and distillery known for its extensive stocks of older whiskies. It sometimes pulls from them for very high end and exclusive releases targeted towards affluent collectors. The latest of these was recently unveiled, taking the form of a 50 year old variant.

The new The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614, according to those behind it, is a 50 year old Scotch single malt whisky that’s a continuation of five casks used in a previous 2019 expression known as the Marriage 0197. Incorporated into this is liquid from two newer, older casks, with the resulting final expression having been bottled at 46% ABV.

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614 (image vie The Balvenie)

“It’s an honor to be able to share such a rare, distinct whisky as Marriage 0614,” said The Balvenie Malt Master David Stewart, MBE, in a prepared statement. “Its creation let us reach into the distillery’s oldest and most precious stocks, and working with such varied liquids, with all their distinct palettes and differences in maturity and ABV, is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of my role as The Balvenie Malt Master.

“Although Marriage 0614 is, in part, derived from the same five casks used for last year’s release of Marriage 0197, the additional two casks have added a new dimension to the final liquid, which is a delicate balance of deep, dark spices, bitter chocolate and a sweetness imparted from notes of honey and oak. These innovations in marrying the liquid, and the unexpected twists of whisky maturation, continue to present us with new challenges and opportunities to create unique and precious Balvenie expressions.”

As mentioned previously, The Balvenie has a history of rolling out 50 year old bottlings that can command premium prices. According to the brand, the trend began with an initial expression from “1937, bottled in 1987, at a time when such vintages were incredibly rare. The 1937 was a vatting of four constituent casks, each imparting its own distinct flavor to the final liquid. In another 50-year-old expression and the distillery’s smallest ever release in 2002, a mere 83 bottles were drawn from the famed Cask 191 – The Balvenie’s last remaining casks from the 1950s.”

Then, in 2012, “The Balvenie’s third 50-year-old was drawn from a 1962 European oak sherry hogshead. Just 88 bottles were sold in this limited release to mark the occasion. 2014 saw the twin bottlings of two identical casks from 1963, which had matured with markedly distinct characters. The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614, which follows the Marriage 0197 released in 2019 and Marriage 0962 released in 2018, continues this tradition of experimentation as part of a series of 50-year-olds with an even more rich and complex story.”

As it stands now The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614 has already come to market, pricing around $40,500 per bottle. It is presented in a special wooden canister “made from elm trees sourced from the grounds” of the distillery. Each canister is comprised of 50 layers, 48 layers of elm and two of brass, handcrafted by Scottish wood craftsman, Sam Chinnery, at his workshop on Bruntlands Farm near Elgin, Scotland.

The bottle itself, meanwhile, is hand-blown from 100% lead-free crystal by Brodie Nairn and his team of craftsmen at Glasstorm – based in Tain, Scotland. Below you’ll find official tasting notes for this release and, for the curious, a break down of the cask information.

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614 tasting notes:

  • Nose: Deep dark spices, rich fruit cake, lots of elegant oak notes, followed by sweeter aromas of dried fruits, raisins and sultanas ending on a ginger spiciness.
  • Palate: Rich and lush with some bitter chocolate. Intensely spicy, there is a maple syrup sweetness, hints of honey and well-integrated oak tannins.
  • Finish: Rich and mouth coating with those sweet and oaky spiced notes.

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614 constituent cask information:

  • Cask 6430, American Oak – 2% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614
  • Cask 6428, American Oak – 9% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614
  • Cask 3094, American Oak – 10% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614
  • Cask 0732, American Oak – 18% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614
  • Cask 9920, European Oak – 10% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614
  • Cask 9924, American Oak – 25% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614
  • Cask 6431, European Oak – 26% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0614

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