Balvenie is a brand of the William Grant's group, with whom we started working in 2008, after a long series of negotiations, almost surprisingly managing to become their new distributor. Since then, a wonderful friendship has also developed with Charles Gordon, 80-year-old owner of William Grant's and visionary nomad. He is the man who invented the classification of single malts, and thanks to him and long chats on his boat I gave birth to my own classification of rums. William Grant's is proof that even a huge company can combine power with the spirit of its leader.
Balvenie was built on a 5-hectare site adjacent to Glenfiddich in 1892/3. Originally known as Glen Gordon, it was named after the huge ruined castle next door. The 'new' castle, already abandoned in 1893, was converted into a malting chamber. The distillery supplied spirits, mainly for Grant's Standfast blend, until 1973, when the first official bottling took place. Its continued requirements as a contributor to blends initially limited its growth as a stand-alone brand, although it increased its cult status. It was only with the construction of Ailsa Bay that more stock was finally made available. It is now one of the fastest growing single malt brands in the world.
Balvenie is the only distillery in the Scottish Highlands that still grows and malt its own barley. After steeping the barley in spring water from the hills above the distillery, the barley is pushed onto the traditional malting floor, where the maltsters turn it by hand until it is ready for the kiln, where it is dried using anthracite and a carefully judged amount of peat. The stills have a bulge or boiling ball at the base of the swan neck, which allows the vapours more time to mix before they continue to the head. The barrels are prepared and maintained by a team of experienced coopers.