Speyside-based distillery The Balvenie’s new range of whiskies, the Rare Marriages, represents another feather in the cap for its longest-serving malt master, David Stewart. The collection comprises a trio of premium single malts: The Twenty-Five (previously released in late 2021), The Thirty, and The Forty – numbers that represent their ages.
For the Rare Marriages, Stewart picked from a small selection of the distillery’s rarest casks, before expertly marrying or blending them in an oak tun to bring out their nuanced flavours.
Marrying whiskies in an oak tun is a traditional practice not just at The Balvenie but also many other whisky distilleries. According to Brett Bayly, regional brand ambassador for The Balvenie Southeast Asia, what distinguishes the Rare Marriages from other “married” whiskies in its product range, such as The Balvenie DoubleWood 12, is the former’s goal of emphasising The Balvenie’s trademark honey profile.
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“The DoubleWood 12 is technically married but for a different purpose – building consistency for a larger scale product,” said Bayly. “The process requires several America oak casks to be combined or married before they are refilled into Oloroso sherry casks.
“[On the other hand], the Rare Marriages range is about crafting the optimal blend of cask styles, five in total, to bring The Balvenie honey profile to life. The syrupy nature of these whiskies reflects the intense maturation that has occurred across five different cask styles specifically selected and married in the desired ratio to bring this [honey] profile forward.”
Over a whisky dinner held at Marguerite for the media last November, The Thirty appeared to be the crowd favourite: It offered the most honeyed profile – not a cloying expression but a richly layered character that unfurled silkily on the palate, with touches of orange peel, marshmallows, dark chocolate, and nougat.
The Twenty-Five is a slightly more elegant version than The Thirty and would pair well with light dishes like canapes and seafood (Bayly recommends fresh oysters, tuna tartare or a chilled lobster dish).
The Forty is a heavyweight; an intense, powerful spirit backed up by candied ginger, cinnamon, orange marmalade, and oaky notes. It also comes in a beautiful oak-based case made up of stained rings, its graduated ombre tones reflecting the layered flavours that unfurl in the blending process.
Bayly said there are “few whiskies that embody the true craft of our malt master David C Stewart MBE like the Rare Marriages range”. “The way each cask has been brought together is an incredibly intricate process [that] takes true skill and intuition. The result is something very special and one that speaks to the true heart of what The Balvenie stands for – flavours that are seemingly simple yet incredibly complex,” he said.
“The range is unique because it utilises ultra-rare casks to bring us a rich and warming whisky, elevating the profile of The Balvenie to a level we haven’t seen.”
Interested buyers of The Rare Marriages can indicate their interest on since1887.sg and a member of The Balvenie team will reach out to them.