Balvenie

On the foot of the hills of Convals lies the Distillery of Glenfiddich. It produces Scotch Malt whisky. William J. Grant built it in 1892.

Information about the Distillery
119 Bottles
Scotland, Speyside
-3.127211 57.458357
Active
Wm. Grant & Sons
2 x 12,729 l
Tall
4 x 12,729 l
Tall
10 x 50,000 l
10 t
1892
http://www.thebalvenie.com/
Average Tasting Notes Calculated from 421 Tasting Notes
Nosing
Vanilla
Fruit
Sherry
Honey
Sweet
Orange
Oak
Raisin
Spices
Caramel
Peat Smoke
Cinnamon
Nuts
Alcohol
Malt
Banana
Apple
Dark Chocolate
Floral
Peach
Lemon
Heather
Pinapple
Dried Fruit
Chocolate
Tobacco
Oil
Almonds
Tropical Fruit
Grass
Melon
Pear
Cherry
Berries
Plum
Green Apple
Blackberry
Lime
Hazelnut
Anise
Grape
Hay
Leather
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Chili
Cake
Herbs
Mint
Tasting
Oak
Vanilla
Honey
Sweet
Sherry
Fruit
Spices
Malt
Oil
Nuts
Orange
Cinnamon
Chocolate
Caramel
Dark Chocolate
Chili
Raisin
Alcohol
Pepper
Peach
Almonds
Cake
Coffee
Peat Smoke
Dried Fruit
Banana
Fig
Pear
Apple
Grass
Plum
Barley
Nutmeg
Cherry
Grapefruit
Grape
Walnut
Tobacco
Lime
Ginger
Berries
Lemon
Salt
Heather
Hay
Leather
Date
Wheat
Clove
Tropical Fruit
Finish
Oak
Malt
Sweet
Spices
Oil
Sherry
Vanilla
Fruit
Dark Chocolate
Honey
Nuts
Alcohol
Chocolate
Chili
Coffee
Almonds
Pepper
Peat Smoke
Apple
Raisin
Orange
Caramel
Cinnamon
Berries
Lemon
Dried Fruit
Heather
Leather
Hazelnut
Pear
Fig
Cake
Tobacco
Medicinal Smoke
Green Apple
Floral
Ginger
Seaweed
Grapefruit
Clove
Tropical Fruit
Herbs
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

The Balvenie whiskies have a very definite distillery character. All the whiskies are sweet with honey and vanilla notes. This distillery character is then nicely combined with flavours of different casks. This marriage of fruity flavours with the honey and vanilla makes Balvenie a typical Speyside distillery. The core range is very large with the 12 years Double Wood as their leading whisky. The core range goes up to the 30 year-old. These whiskies become even better as the sweet and soft tones are complemented with oak and darker flavours like leather or cigars.There are only few independent bottlings of the Balvenie distillery. So there are only a handful of bottles on the market with whisky straight from the cask.

Over the last years the Monkey Shoulder blended whisky was developed. The Balvenie distillery partly supplies whisky for the Monkey Shoulder and serves as a sweet spice in the blend.

The Production

The production output at Balvenie is very high for a single malt distillery. The distillery has an annual output of 5.6 million litres of alcohol. This output is reached with five wash stills and six spirit stills. Also very interesting is the production depth at Balvenie. Balvenie has an own farm, malting floors, local spring, copper-smith, cooperage and all the usual distillery departments.

The malt is grown at the Balvenie Main. It is 1000 acres large and grows traditional Scottish barley.

Balvenie kept the traditional malting floors and is now one of the few distilleries where you can buy whisky that is made in the style of before the industrialisation of whisky.

The copper-smith keeps all the piping and the pot stills in good shape. Balvenie states that the shape of their stills is one of the most important factors in the creation of the distillery character.

The coopers at Balvenie are also very crucial to the typical flavour of Balvenie. They inspect, repair, rebuild, fill and seal casks all day. The great variation of casks at Balvenie makes this department very necessary to the distillery.

View on the distillery from the street.
The distillery of Balvenie

The Pot Stills

The five wash stills vary from 9,000 litres to about 13,000 Litres. Their shape is very round, and they are equipped with a reflux bowl. The pot still is also very tall, and the lyne arm is falling after the neck.

The spirit stills are a bit bigger and there are six of them. This means you can distil at a slow pace and separate the bad tastes in the alcohol better. The shape of the spirit still pot is tubular and above the intermediate piece sits another reflux bowl. This time the lyne arm is rising after the bend. All of this leads to a very good separation of the new make spirit. This is one reason why the Balvenie distillery is so smooth and sweet without the sharp and intense undertones.

The pot stills of the Balvenie distillery.
The pot stills and condensers of the Balvenie Distillery

The Malting

The malting floors at Balvenie are open and working up to the present day. The malt at Balvenie shows almost no phenol content from drying over peat fire. Many of our photos from the malting floors were taken at Balvenie.

The malting floor of the Balvenie distillery.
The malting floor of the Balvenie Distillery

The Warehouse

Most of the warehouses at Balvenie are kept traditionally flat and are made of old grey stone. This and the Scottish Highland climate let the whisky mature very slowly, making it very smooth. The choice of casks at the Balvenie warehouse is very diverse. There are a vast number of first and refill Bourbon casks. But there are also a lot of sherry casks and quite a number of exotic casks such as rum and wine casks.

The cask stock of the Balvenie distillery.
The warehouses of the Balvenie Distillery

History

The Balvenie distillery was built in 1892 by William J. Grant. The name Balvenie means 'village of luck'. The company is still in the hand of the William Grant & Sons Ltd. When the distillery was built Grant had to save a bit on the equipment. The stills were used stills from the Lagavulin distillery. Over the years the Balvenie whisky became very popular and the distillery increased the number of stills from two to four. In 1971 the whole distillery was renovated and the number of stills was increased to a total of nine stills. Due to the high production the malt cannot be fully supplied by the malting floors at the distillery. So the distillery has to buy malt from the big malting companies.

One interesting fact is that the Balvenie distillery didn't have a distillery bottling until 1973. Today it has a big range of standard distillery whiskies with a common design.

The Visitor Centre

Balvenie is now open to the public. To get a tour you should pre-book online, as the tours are kept small and opening times at the distillery are pretty short. The tour is very interesting, because of all the production steps that are not common in the whisky industry anymore. You can also bottle your own whisky at the warehouse.

Chronological rating history

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