The Balvenie unveils new Stories range – three whiskies with history

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

21 May 2019

William Grant & Sons is rolling out three new single malt whiskies from The Balvenie in a collection called Stories.

The three expressions are accompanied by recordings explaining the stories of their creation, told through conversations between The Balvenie global ambassador Gemma Paterson and key figures involved in each liquid’s development. Drinkers are able to listen to the audio on their smartphones through NFC (near-field communication) technology as they sip, and the recordings will also be available as podcasts.

So what are the liquids that have inspired such technological cartwheels? The first, called The Sweet Taste of American Oak, is a 12yo that was developed when apprentice malt master Kelsey McKechnie was working with – you guessed it – white American oak. His experimentation resulted in a liquid that is extra fruity and sweet.

Next up is The Week of Peat, a 14yo that was originally launched in 2017. It was created by malt master David Stewart MBE and former distillery manager Ian Millar during a week-long gap in the distillery’s production schedule. They used peat in the process of barley drying, leading to a classic expression with an additional layer of gentle smokiness.

To complete the Stories range, The Balvenie has released A Day of Dark Barley, a powerful 26yo single malt that was born when Stewart was experimenting with heavily roasted dark barley in 1992. It was first launched in 2006 as the 14yo Balvenie Roasted Malt, but the whiskymaker kindly held onto some casks and continued to mature them, for a liquid that’s now complex and robust.  

In addition to the audio stories, the distiller is partnering with publishing company Canongate to release a book, Pursuit – The Balvenie Stories Collection. The book will be published in the autumn, and is set to include both fiction and non-fiction short stories.

If you want to get your hands on these impressive liquids, you’ll need to budget wisely – the oldest of the whiskies, A Day of Dark Barley, will cost you a whopping £600. For less eye-watering options, spring for the first two single malts, which both clock in at well under £100.

The Balvenie Sweet Taste of American Oak, 43% abv, £45; The Week of Peat, 48.8% abv, £65; A Day of Dark Barley, 47.8% abv, £600; William Grant & Sons, williamgrant.com

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