All about making whisky
If The Balvenie is often depicted as one of the Grands Crus of Speyside, it is more because of its artisanal nature than the fact that it was built at the foot of a castle (which is today in ruins).
A small quantity of its barley is even grown in the neighbouring farms. And although the preservation of its malting floors doesn’t allow it to be completely self-sufficient for its malt supply, it does contribute to firmly rooting the single malt in the locality and climate, an environment particularly favourable to maturation.
To reach Balvenie you must first pass by its older brother Glenfiddich, crossing over its immense estate, with the young Kininvie distillery nestled on its edge, a sort of large unattractive hangar that is somewhat uninviting. But missing out on it would be a shame, as its still room is very much worth a detour. On beautiful spring days, the air is filled with the smell of grain, honey and flowers bordering the paths.
David Stewart, The Balvenie’s Master of Malt, is something of a grand couturier when it comes to creating his blends, which are characterized by elegance, balance and sweetness. The old vintage versions, which are complex and sophisticated, often win prizes at competitions. The family business William Grant & Sons avoids selling single malt to blenders, for the most part to prevent the appearance of independent bottlings. It does, however, produce a blended malt, Burnside (named after one of the neighbouring farms owned by the Grants), which is composed of 99% The Balvenie and 1% Glenfiddich.