The Balvenie unveils its 'Stories' collection in homage to the craftsmen behind their exceptional whiskies

The latest whisky launch in The Balvenie Stories collection is an homage to the craftsmen behind the 131-year-old brand

The Balvenie whisky
(Image credit: The Balvenie)

The Balvenie has unveiled the latest whisky in The Balvenie Stories collection: ’A Revelation of Cask and Character’ is a 19-year-old limited-edition single malt, and the first in the collection to be matured entirely in sherry casks. Sherry plays an important role in the history and development of Scotch single malt whisky, and this expression celebrates its influence – delivering a rich and luxurious flavour profile unlike any other in The Balvenie range.

The Balvenie, based in Dufftown, Speyside, has been handcrafting whisky for more than 125 years. This unique distillery grows its own barley, malts in its own traditional floor maltings and still employs a team of coopers to tend to the casks alongside a coppersmith to maintain the stills.

The Balvenie whisky on table

(Image credit: The Balvenie)

The Balvenie Stories collection was named in homage to the craftsmen whose dedication and expertise lie behind the production of exceptional whisky, and the stories that are told from one generation to the next as they pass on precious knowledge. As those who understand whisky will know, the cask in which it is matured is key to the taste and depth of the spirit, which takes on some of the character of whatever liquid the casks once held. The selection, building, and maintenance of the casks is an integral part of the art of whisky making, and the coopers responsible for them are craftsmen of extraordinary skill – with years of experience and a mastery of wood that is fundamental to the creation of whisky.

Ian McDonald, head cooper, who started his career with an apprenticeship at The Balvenie in 1969, says: ‘The coopering team plays a huge part in the creation of all The Balvenie whiskies. Coopering is the original form of recycling; we always repair old casks, which adds to the rich flavour of the spirits. Our coopers work their way up through a four-year apprenticeship scheme with skills passed from generation to generation, contributing to the whisky creation through cask repair, as exemplified with the Spanish sherry casks used for A Revelation of Cask and Character.’

The Balvenie master blender

David Steward , former Malt Master of The Balvenie

(Image credit: The Balvenie)

The release of this expression coincides with the appointment of Kelsey McKechnie as malt master for The Balvenie. She assumes the position following six years of apprenticeship under legendary former malt master David C Stewart MBE, who now is now appointed honorary ambassador, having marked 60 years at the brand.

Revelation of Cask and Character is the first release designed solely by McKechnie, who will be responsible for all future liquid innovation and uphold the tradition and quality of The Balvenie for generations to come. 

The Balvenie whisky

(Image credit: The Balvenie)

This first expression on McKechnie’s watch tells a tale of the cooper’s craft, both in Speyside and Jerez in Spain, where the sherry casks originate. These casks impart a sweetness to the whisky, with a nose of intense ripe fruits and caramelised orange peel. The taste is bold, yet elegant and beautifully balanced, with a creamy, nutty finish. 

McKechnie comments: ‘Not many distillers have a cooperage on site and it is so important to the development of our exceptional whiskies. We have a collaborative process with our coopers, which offers flexibility in ideas and innovation, allowing us to experiment with different casks to explore new flavours. By maturing the whisky entirely in European Oloroso sherry casks, drinkers experience new depths of spice, rich toffee and honey that are soon met with toasted oak, providing an overflowing heat.’

The cooperage at The Balvenie distillery is depicted in the presentation of this whisky, with a splendid bespoke illustration by British artist and printmaker Andy Lovell. A very limited quantity means that A Revelation of Cask and Character will only be available for two years, at £307 RRP.

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms