The Balvenie Distillery Information
The Balvenie distillery was established (as the Glen Gordon distillery) in 1892 by William Grant just outside of Dufftown. Rather than starting from scratch, as he and his sons did when they built the nearby Glenfiddich distillery, this time they converted an existing building, the Balvenie New House, into a distillery using second hand stills bought from Lagavulin and Glen Albyn. The close proximity to the Glenfiddich distillery can be explained by trying to meet an increasing demand for Glenfiddich whisky, as well as an attempt to secure the water source, which is shared with Glenfiddich. The first distillation in the new distillery took place on May 1st, 1893.
Ownership of the Balvenie distillery has remained in the hands of the Grant family ever since it was established, so there’s little to report concerning ownership. The one change really as that in 1903, the distillery was transferred to William Grants & Sons Ltd.
In the early 1920s, part of the building was removed, and the stone blocks obtained in that manner were then used for the construction of a new malt barn and kiln. The amount of stills was doubled in 1957 to 4. Somewhere between 1957 and 1865, a fifth still was added. In 1965, two additional stills made their way into the distillery. In 1966, the method of heating the stills was switched from direct to steam heating. Another still was added in 1971. In 2008, one additional was still and a spirit still were introduced. The stills are located in two separate still rooms.
Apart from sharing the water source, Balvenie and Glenfiddich also both use the Balvenie malting floors, as well as a cooperage for cask construction and repair.
The Balvenie whisky
Despite sharing the same owner and spring as Glenfiddich, the whiskies from the two distilleries are nothing alike. The malt used at Balvenie is initially dried by burning peat, with the remainder of the drying process taking place using coal. There are close to no independent bottles of Balvenie available, as they jealously guard their product.
The current Balvenie range consists of:
- Double Wood, aged 12 years; initially matured in traditional oak, and then switched to first fill European oak Sherry casks
- Double Wood, aged 17 years; initially matured in American oak, and then transferred to European oak Sherry casks
- Caribbean Cask, aged 14 years; matured in traditional oak whisky casks for 14 years, and then finished in ex-Rum casks
- Single Barrel 15, aged 15 years; drawn from a single traditional oak cask, making every release unique. 350 bottles from a cask
- Portwood, aged 21 years; finished in casks that formerly contained Port. Bottled at 47.6% ABV
- Thirty, aged 30 years; married from American and European oak casks. Bottled at 47.3% ABV
- Forty, aged 40 years; married from 4 refill hogsheads and 3 Sherry butts. 150 bottles available
- Fifty, aged 50- years. Matured in an European oak Sherry hogshead. Distilled in 1962. Limited to 88 bottles only
- Tun 1401 (range). Specially selected casks are added to a marrying tun where the contents are married over the course of 3 months. Bottled at 50.2% ABV
- Triple Cask (range); mixed from whiskies matured in first-fill Bourbon casks, refill Bourbon casks, and refill Sherry casks, the whiskies are married. Released as 12 Year Old, 16 Year Old and 25 Year Old. Travel retail only.
- Single Barrel, traditional oak, aged 25 years; matured in American oak. Limited to 300 bottles per barrel. Bottled at 47.8%
|Water source||The Robbie Dubh springs|
|Owned by||William Grant & Sons|
The Balvenie Distillery
+44 (0) 1340 822 210
|Mash tun||10,2 tonnes||2 (Stainless steel, full lauter). Only 1 used for Balvenie.|
|Washback||50,000 litres||10 (Oregon pine)|
|Wash still||3 * 12,725 / 2 * 9,100 litres||5|
|Spirit Still||12,725 litres||6|
|Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)||5,600,000|