Contributor Joe Teng shares a little taste of the rare Balvenie Fifty
Look out, North America! The Balvenie Fifty, one of the world’s rarest whiskies, is once again about to hit the market this fall. All two bottles of it!
And for whisky connoisseurs, the release of something this special from a Scottish distillery is always very exciting news indeed. The Balvenie Fifty has a rich history and tradition showcasing its different and unique variants as the years have gone by. The first batch under this luxury label came about in 1987 when a barrel going back all the way to 1937 was used to create a new and never before attempted take on whisky.
More recently, in 2002, The Balvenie used its last remaining cask from the 1950s – cask 191 – to bottle up only small numbers of this precious liquid. It was only in April 2018 that the last of these precious bottles were sold at an auction for a whopping £30,000, around CDN $50,000.
The Balvenie Fifty is a Perfect Marriage
Today’s concoction, Marriage 0962, has been cleverly engineered under the watchful eye of David C Stewart, who has overseen the handling of this extremely rare blend sourced from four different American oak casks.
The Balvenie’s Malt Master explains further. “This was a chance to explore the furthest reaches of our precious aged stocks and see how their extremes could be controlled and combined,” says Stewart. “The creation of Marriage 0962 took months of patience to complete, as we’re dealing with liquids with extremes in ABV, taste, and age. It’s not every day I get the opportunity to work with liquids of such age, and it is a huge pleasure to be able to share it with the world.”
Marriage 0962 is bottled at 41.6% ABV (alcohol by volume) with the mixture having a combination of malt and oak, brown sugar, toffee, and ground ginger for the aroma, whereas the taste has maple syrup, citrus, and that classic Balvenie sweetness. To finish, this tantalising liquor is long and lingering, with hints of dried fruits and vanilla oaky spice notes.
Crafted Bottles and Decanters
To make this much-anticipated bottle even more special, the company has gone even further by hiring specialists to design the bottle and decanters.
Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery has designed a beautiful bottle in the shape of a wooden tube, a stunning piece made up of 50 individual layers, 48 of which are walnut, and two of brass. As for the decanters, these are made out of 100% lead free crystal and expertly hand blown by Brodie Nairn and his team up in Scotland.
“The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 really shines a new light on the unique skill of The Balvenie Malt Master, David C Stewart,” says the company’s Canadian brand ambassador, Jamie Johnson. “We are thrilled to be one of the limited markets that will receive two of the bottles this Fall.”
Contributor Joe Teng, aka ‘FoodPunk Joe’, is a London-based food critic on a one-man mission to showcase the city’s best cuisine, from fine dining restaurants to food markets. You can follow his adventures at https://foodpunkjoe.wordpress.com/.