Mild and particularly soft whiskies come from the Balvenie distillery in Dufftown. The distillery is worth a visit as one of only a handful with onsite maltings. The Balvenie 12 Years Double Wood can confidently be called one of the standard whiskies that you simply have to try!
At the entrance to the Speyside town of Dufftown is the whisky distillery Balvenie. It is hidden behind a small piece of forest in the picturesque area, which is still family-owned today. It is very close to the big brother Glenfiddich and the ruins of the castle of the same name, Balvenie, which probably dates from the 13th century. Balvenie is considered by many whisky connoisseurs to be the best horse in the stable of William Grants & Sons and produces single malts for the entry-level area as well as for the luxury and premium segment. Balvenie offers one of the most extensive and personal tours of Scotland’s distillery. However, the demand is extremely high, which is why booking well in advance is recommended.
What does Balvenie Single Malt taste like?The Scotch from The Balvenie is characterized by perfectly developed honey tones. So sweet, so mild and extremely high quality is only available in this single malt. A balvenie is usually of medium weight and likes to show hints of exotic fruits. Due to the frequent use of wood finishes, bottlings from The Balvenie always offer a certain twist. Examples are the popular The Balvenie 12 Double Wood with sherry barrel finish, the Balvenie 14 years Caribbean Cask, matured in rum barrels or the grandiose The Balvenie 21 years Portwood with a maturation in port wine barrels. One week a year the distillery produces a peated new make, released as the week of peat.
How is Balvenie whisky made?Today The Balvenie produces whisky with a mash tun of 10.2 tons and ten fermentation tanks made from Douglas fir. Balvenie distills on five wash stills and six spirit stills. The distillery operates its own malting plant and even grows a tiny amount of their barley for the whisky itself. Water for The Balvenie comes from the source Robbie Dubh, William Grant & Sons even bought the land around the source to put a stop to the pollution and sealing of the landscape through building projects - not to imagine the consequences of losing the water source. Balvenie also goes its own way with whisky barrels. Together with the Glenfiddich sibling distillery, Balvenie has its own cooperage in which barrels can be repaired and converted. The two distilleries can use different synergy effects due to their proximity. For example, by using the waste heat from the Glenfiddich distillery to heat The Balvenie stills. There is another distillery on the site of the distilleries, the Kininvie Distillery. Since The latters whisky is mainly used for the blended malt monkey shoulder and the blended scotch whisky grants, it is relatively unknown.
The Balvenie distillery was founded in 1892 by the William Grant family. The original Balvenie stills ere purchased from Lagavulin and Glen Albyn distilleries. Previously, they had built the Glenfiddich distillery by hand in 1886. The distillery was originally called Glen Gordon, but was later renamed to the nearby ruin. The first distilling process was demonstrably carried out on May 1st, 1893. After starting with the used stills, the distillery was expanded from 2 to 4 stills in 1957. Extensions in 1965 and 1971 further increased the number of stills. Today it is an 11 still opperation.
The first Balvenie Single Malt was bottled in 1973 - a stroke of luck for the whole whisky world. The fact that Balvenie’s mild, catchy style had hit the nerve of many whisky lovers was evident from the steadily increasing demand. As early as 1990, William Grant & Sons had to relieve the Balvenie brand by building the Kininvie distillery on the same site, whose malt whisky played a significant role in the company’s blends.
But even Kininvie could not meet the demand for malt whisky for the blends and so William Grants & Sons followed up with the construction of the Ailsa Bay malt whisky distillery in 2007. A huge, enormously progressive malt whisky distillery was built on the site of their grain whisky distillery. The Ladyburn distillery had previously stood here. The 16 stills were modeled on those of Balvenie and today Ailsa Bay has an annual production capacity of a proud 12 million liters. As a result, Balvenie is released from the “duties” for the company’s blends and can concentrate fully on the Balvenie single malts. Good news for friends of the brand.
|Name||Pronounced||AKA||Region||Country of Origin|
|Status||Active||Whisky Type||Website||Tours Available|
|Active||1892 - Present||Malt||Balvenie||Tour Link|
|Manager||Distiller||Blender||Owned by||Parent Group|
|David Stewart||William Grant & Sons|
1892: William Grant, of W. & J. Grant, bought the ground next to the Glenfiddich Distillery and built The Balvenie Distillery using second-hand stills from Lagavulin and Glen Albyn
1903: Incorporated as Wm. Grant
1957: Extended from two to four stills
1965: Extended from five to seven stills
1966: Stills became steamheated
1971: Extended from seven to eight stills
....: Installation of own bottling line
2006-Sep-25-29: The distillery has been shut for a week to replace the boiler by a new one