Back in 1962, two substantial happenings took place at the award-winning independent, family-owned Scottish distillery firm William Grant & Sons Ltd., founded by William Grant in 1886. Firstly, the master blender of that time Hamish Robertson selected special barrel ‘cask #5576’, a large European oak sherry hogshead which is rarely used today in whisky-making, and filled it with new-made distillate from the Balvenie Distillery. Secondly, the present Malt Master David Stewart was hired as apprentice. And over the following 50 years, while Mr. Stewart perfected and practiced his craft, the spirit in that special European oak sherry hogshead continued to age, mellow, and evaporates to get slowly matured into a truly exceptional outstanding single malt Scotch whisky that gives velvety smooth finish with a delicious citrus sweetness. Now in year 2012 that marks the Stewart’s 50th year with The Balvenie, that cask has been bottled to launch The Balvenie Fifty whisky. Notably, due to evaporation (known as the angel’s share) after 50-years of aging, there’s only enough of this single malt to fill 88 bottles of The Balvenie Fifty.
Off the limited-edition of only 88 bottles, 10 units have been allocated for retail in the United States. Notably, each of the bottles priced at $30,000, has been affixed with a commemorative brass plaque and is housed in a bespoke canister fashioned from 8 different varieties of Scottish wood. Created by Scottish craftsman Sam Chinnery, the 49 rings of seven Scottish-grown timbers mark Stewart's 50-years at The Balvenie Distillery.
This particularly long maturation has created a wonderful fragrant and floral whisky, velvety sweet with a beautifully balanced combination of sweet citrus notes accompanied by a beautiful outburst of cinnamon and nutmeg and subtle hints of honey, spice and oak.
The whisky enthusiasts and well-heeled patrons can try the shot of The Balvenie Fifty at Mastro’s, or at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which will set you back by $3,400.
Notably, only 22 bottles of The Balvenie Fifty single malt Scotch whisky will be made available in global travel retail. And, one was officially unveiled by David Stewart and other colleagues at Los Angeles International Airport, the only airport in North American travel retail to carry this whisky.
Besides, we have seen another 50-year-old Balvenie whisky that actually managed to attract avid spirit collectors. It was released in a limited edition of only 83 bottles to come from a single cask #191.