Dufftown, Scotland: Speyside Region
William Grant (he of Glenfiddich fame) opened The Balvenie in 1892 in response to an increased demand for blended whisky, which the distillery produced until the early 1970s before switching its focus to single malts.
Situated just up the road from Glenfiddich, The Balvenie was built by converting an 18th century mansion into a working distillery. Both distilleries are still owned and run by the Grant family.
As a result of their familial ties and geographical proximity, the two distilleries share a water source, yet each have their own distinctive taste.
Tradition is important at all distilleries, although The Balvenie certainly goes the extra mile in this regard, growing their own barley, malting it on their own floor maltings, and employing their own coopers and coppersmith. In an age where most distilleries outsource many steps in the whisky-making process, this dedication is highly commendable. Unfortunately, all this dedicated activity doesn’t even begin to provide all the malted barley needed to meet the distillery’s output levels. Only about 15% of what is required can be produced in-house, and the rest is therefore outsourced. Full marks for effort, though.
The Balvenie’s bottles are apparently designed to echo the shape of their peat kiln doors. The labels on every bottle bear the signature of the distillery’s Malt Master, David Stewart, who, with 45 years of service at the distillery, is the longest serving malt master in the industry.
General Tasting Notes
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Distillery Contact Information
Address: Dufftown, AB55 4BB
Tel: +44 (0)1340 82 0373
Tours: Tours take place Monday to Thursday at 10:00 and 14:00, and Fridays at 10:00 only. Each tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours, is limited to 8 people, and costs £25 per person. Advanced booking is essential. The tours can be booked online via the distillery’s website.
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