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The Balvenie

      Bitter disappointment does not come close to describing my feelings having phoned up The Balvenie Distillery from my room in the Huntly Hotel to be told that their tours for the forthcoming week – and indeed most of the next month – were fully booked. Having been assured by a fellow tourist at Macallan that it was a most singular single malt experience (and at £25 for a three hour tour, I should think it would be) I saw what a gaping hole its loss left in the fabric of my Odyssey. At the time, I cycled round the buildings, reflecting on the plumes of steam, metropoli of warehouses and wraiths of blue-brown smoke coughing out of the pagoda vent. It was set to achieve four stars for the production process alone – providing as they do a chance to view the coopers at work in addition to the floor maltings. I also happen to be very fond of the drams they make. Next time… 

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The eclectic Balvenie site, as viewed from the Spirit of Speyside carriage on the Keith-Dufftown Railway.

The eclectic Balvenie site, as viewed from the Spirit of Speyside carriage on the Keith-Dufftown Railway.

Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire, AB55 4DH, 01340 820373. William Grant & Sons. www.thebalvenie.com


‘The Tour’: £25. A three hour experience at the home of ‘the handcrafted malt’. A coffee and a summary of the distillery’s history begins the tour in the Distillery Office before a thorough investigation of the plant occurs. Maltings, mashing, fermenting, distillation and coopering are all included, as is a trip to the warehouse. I’m not promising anything, but the chap I met outside The Macallan boasted of having sampled malts straight from the cask – two, in fact, and both from his birth year: in the 1960s. There is a tutored tasting of The Balvenie range, ascending from new make to the highly prized 30yo back in the visitor centre. BOOK EARLY, I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH.

DISTILLERY-EXCLUSIVE BOTTLINGS:      Whilst on the tour there is the opportunity to bottle your own 20cl measure of single cask Balvenie from a choice of three casks. The visitor may nose each of the samples from the three and make their selection – or alternatively they can bottle one of each! At present this trio are all from 1996: a first-fill Bourbon, refill Bourbon, and a first-fill Sherry. £20 each. Also, once back at the visitor centre the shop will be opened for you and then there are two exclusives to choose from: Rose, £100, and Tun 1401, £150. The shop is only accessible to those who participate on the tour.

« A Scotch Odyssey – with a Chauffeur – Glenfarclas Family Cask 1990 »

January 26, 2011 um 12:00 pm
The Tours
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