Balvenie expands 50-year-old whisky line

by Owen Bellwood

William Grant & Sons-owned Scotch brand The Balvenie has released a 50-year-old single malt, which blends together whiskies from five American oak casks.

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0197 follows the release of Marriage 0962 and comprises liquid drawn from the same four casks as the brand's previous 50-year-old whisky as well as spirit from one further cask. David Stewart, Balvenie malt master, said: “Marrying whisky stocks of this age is a complex art that not only continues to challenge me after 57 years in the business but also affords me the opportunity to explore and experiment with some of our most precious aged stocks. “The difference between Marriage 0197 and 0962 is only one cask, yet there is an incredible distinction amongst the two expressions. The addition of cask 9920 has added an extra level of depth and intensity.” The final liquid, bottled at 42% ABV, is said to be "rich and deep on the nose with an abundance of oak tannins, dark fruits, bitter chocolate and intense spice". The whisky has malty sweetness, hints of honey and dark chocolate alongside a "rich spiced finish". Priced at US$38,000, The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0197 is presented in a wooden tube comprised of 50 layers, 48 of walnut and two of brass. The presentation case includes an etched brass certificate and bottle glorifier, inscribed with tasting notes. The decanters for Marriage 0197 have been hand-blown from 100% lead-free crystal by Glasstorm, based in Tain, Scotland.