The Balvenie distillery has introduced three new expressions to its more premium Stories range, so called as each “brings to life a distinct narrative of the human touch, skill, and emotion behind every liquid produced by The Balvenie.”
The three new The Balvenie Stories expressions, according to those behind them, include The Second Red Rose, A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores and The Tale of the Dog. More official details on each, including tasting notes and its origins story, are towards the end of this article.
It should be noted of the packaging for each of these that “heir origins told on the whisky’s packaging. The bottles are encased in a wooden tube box printed with a bespoke illustration specific to the liquids, respectively. The Tale of the Dog bottle is also presented with a replica, flattened copper dog.”
“The Balvenie Stories range brings to life our whisky, our Makers and our distillery – sharing the stories of how these unique whiskies came into being,” said Malt Master, David C. Stewart MBE, in a prepared statement. “These stories are an important part of The Balvenie, being the way that we pass information from one generation of Makers to the next.”
The Stories bottlings are now available in limited quantities across the U.S., with prices noted below.
The Second Red Rose (Aged 21 Years – 48.1% ABV) is inspired by an iconic bottling of The Balvenie Rose first released in 2008. The Balvenie Rose was a 16-Year-Old whisky, finished in port pipes that was only available to visitors to The Balvenie distillery
- Nose: Intense ripe fruits combined with robust earthy tones, reveal the mouth-watering fragrance from fresh mango and subtle oak
- Taste: An initial burst of blackberry and ripe peach sweetness, conceal flavors of vibrant oak and cracked black pepper leaving a gentle woody spice
- Finish: Lingering oakiness
- Story: The original legendary tale, centered around a rare red rose, began centuries ago when the Fair Maid of Galloway, Margaret Douglas, occupied the Balvenie Castle on Speyside Hill. After the death of her husband, 8th Earl of Douglas, the castle and its estate shifted ownership to King James II. Margaret however continued to live there, paying the King rent in the form of a single red rose each year. The flower became a symbol not only of intense beauty but that of extreme value. Over time the castle which had been left unoccupied for centuries came into disrepair however the power of the rose continues to live on in the latest expression from The Balvenie. The Second Red Rose is an intense and sweet 21-Year-Old liquid that embodies a burst of blackberries and ripe peach softness, offset with flavours of vibrant oak and cracked black pepper. The enchanting and exquisite hue of the liquid is a lasting tribute to the captivating red rose.
- SRP: $459.99
A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores (Aged 27 Years – 48% ABV) is a beautifully well-rounded spirit with accentuated flavors of ripe fruit and the classic citrus Balvenie style, with a long-lasting finish.
- Nose: Rich and indulgent with notes of muscovado sugar and Manuka honey. Lighter fruit notes intersperse the aroma with occasional hints of green banana and light spice
- Taste: Beautifully smooth with a velvet vanilla viscosity. The initial burst of sweetness graduates to treacle toffee, aged leather and deep oak tannin
- Finish: Lingering sweet with wonderful mouth-coating oiliness
- Story: Inspired by the story of David C. Stewart MBE and his long-time friend and colleague John Barrett, A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores tells of the inspiration John gave The Balvenie Whisky Stocks team when he brought some very special samples of Caroni rum to The Balvenie’s sample room. John, who has a knack for finding interesting spirits from around the world, would bring his discoveries to David and the team as opportunities for innovation and experimentation, and as David recalls, the team was particularly excited by the Caroni samples.
- SRP: $1,500
The Tale of the Dog (Aged 42 Years – 47% ABV) is a smooth and honeyed expression, delicately balancing sweet date and toffee notes with a light honey spice and lingering oak finish
- Nose: A beautiful classic. The soft sweet fragrance from ripe dates and toffee reveal geranium oil and a subtle mint musk
- Taste: Mouth-coating toffee and dates envelop a light nutty honey spice and toasted oak to give the perfect balance of flavors
- Finish: Oaky and lasting
- Story: Inspired by one of The Balvenie’s longest-serving characters, The Tale of the Dog is recalled by Dennis McBain as one of his clearest memories of working at the distillery, from over 50 years ago. It celebrates the story of McBain as a young apprentice being exposed to a new world of distillery life, as a brewer asked for a copper dog – a little copper tube once used for siphoning off whisky straight from the cask – to be flattened and put back for its owner to find. The humbling tale taught McBain what a dog was, why the expression ‘taking a dog for a walk’ was used at the distillery, and that whoever it belonged to had been sent a message, but ultimately given a second chance. McBain’s memory then inspired his suggestion of using dogs instead of unwieldy valinches for distillery tour tastings. And so, every dog used in Warehouse 24 tours is there because of Dennis McBain and his early days at The Balvenie.
- SRP: $14,500
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...