The Balvenie Introduces Three New Expressions to Celebrate the Distillery’s Craftsmen

by Phillip Galyean

The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky expands upon its Stories range with the launch of three new unique expressions in the U.S.: The Second Red Rose (aged 21 years), A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores (aged 27 years), and The Tale of the Dog (aged 42 years). These new whiskies join the existing Stories expression:The Sweet Toast of American Oak (aged 12 years), while past expressions have included The Week of Peat (aged 14 years), The Edge of Burnhead Wood (aged 19 years), The Day of Dark Barley (aged 26 years), and The Creation of a Classic (the original cask finish). Each liquid in the range brings to life a distinct narrative of the human touch, skill, and emotion behind every liquid produced by The Balvenie.

The true spirit of craft lives on at The Balvenie, the only distillery that still practices the Five Rare Crafts of whisky-making – The Balvenie still grows its own barley, malts in its own traditional floor maltings, and employs a team of coopers to tend to the casks alongside a coppersmith to maintain the stills, and has the most experienced Malt Master in Scottish history – David C. Stewart MBE. This commitment to artistry is reflected in the invaluable skill, experience and passion brought to every stage of the whisky-making process, passing along stories from one generation to the next.

The Balvenie Stories range is the embodiment of these chronicles: tales of character written in whisky, bringing life to history of bold endeavours and extraordinary twists. Each whisky is crafted with passion and has its own luxuriously smooth taste, underpinned by the distinctively honeyed character of The Balvenie. The new expressions in the Stories range include: 

  • The Second Red Rose, is an intense and sweet liquid matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks and then finished in an Australian Shiraz red wine cask. This expression is inspired by an iconic bottling of The Balvenie Rose first released in 2008. 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, the castle and its estate shifted ownership. 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; the power of the rose lives on after the castle had been left unoccupied for centuries. The Balvenie Rose was a 16-Year-Old whisky, finished in port pipes that was only available to visitors to The Balvenie distillery.
  • A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores, is a beautifully well-rounded spirit with accentuated flavors of ripe fruit and the classic citrus Balvenie style, with a long-lasting finish. This new edition is inspired by the time that The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart’s long-time friend, John Barrett, brought some samples of Caroni Rum to the distillery. In 2014, David decided to move some 20-Year-Old Balvenie from its traditional American oak casks into the ex-Caroni Rum casks, to give the whisky a rum finish unlike any other.
  • The Tale of the Dog, is a smooth and honeyed expression, delicately balancing sweet date and toffee notes with a light honey spice and lingering oak finish. 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.

“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. These stories are an important part of The Balvenie, being the way that we pass information from one generation of Makers to the next,” says Malt Master, David C. Stewart MBE.

Naomi Leslie, The Balvenie U.S. Ambassador said: “While always looking forward, The Balvenie is guided by techniques passed down through generations at the distillery to produce excellence.” Neil Strachan, The Balvenie U.S. Ambassador added: “Craftspeople impart knowledge and skill and in this way, each whisky has its own story. The Balvenie believes it’s highly important that these stories are shared with the world.” 

Storytelling is carried through every aspect of The Second Rose, A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores, and The Tale of the Dog, with their 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. 

Stories are now available in limited quantities across the U.S. at suggested retail prices of $459.99 for The Second Red Rose, $1,500 for A Rare Discovery from Distant Shores, and $14,500 for The Tale of the Dog. 

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