Today ( 31-5-16 ) I had the pleasure of visiting the Balvenie distillery again, today our tour guide was Charles, he has stepped in due to David been away with the new compendium series. So as usual upon arrival we were offered either tea or coffee during an informal chat and then the early part of the tour, once the early chat about the origins of the distillery had been given we proceeded to the maltings, unfortunately at the time of the visit, these were not in operation due to technical reasons…
We then headed in to the production area where we were treated to a great talk about the production of Balvenie, one of the highlights was to see a brand new wash back and a couple more that had not been in use very long.
So once the production side had been fully explained we headed to the cooperage, this something I find extremely interesting, I could stand there for hours just watching these guys in action, sadly this is a dying art. These days only a handful of distilleries have on site coopers, others use cooperates like the speyside cooperage.
After seeing these guys in action we headed off to the warehouse, warehouse 24to be precise, now for those of you that don’t know, warehouse 24 is possibly the most famous of the Balvenie warehouses, not only is it the name of the Balvenie followers it is also the old cellar from the original building that was the house to the distillery. Housed in here is the tun that marries the whisky for 1509 and the old 1401 series, also there are some very old casks, one of which was a 1st fill sherry butt from 1982, this is for the members of the warehouse 24 members club, and believe me this is rather tasty.. ( notes in another review) also in this fabled warehouse just happens to be 3 single casks available to be bottled by hand, the 3 casks are a first fill bourbon cask, a re-fill bourbon cask and a first- fill sherry butt.. Once we had finished in here it was back to the tasting room where many a cask might just have been chosen by the man himself ( David Stewart ) the Balvenie malt master.
We sat down to 5 rather tasty Balvenie expressions before being treated to the 34 yo sherry matured monster, a first fill, single cask, cask strength beast… What a perfect ending to what is one of the best tours available..