Distillery lies in Dufftown right on the banks of the
river Fiddich. Balvenie was founded in 1892 by William
Grant, the owner of Glenfiddich Distillery which was
founded only 5 years earlier. The increasing demand from
the Blended Industry prompted the expansion and Balvenie
was built in only 15 months. The short construction time
can be explained by the conversion of an existing
building (the Mansion Balvenie New House) rather than
erect a new one. They also managed to find two
second-hand stills from the distilleries Lagavulin
(Islay) and Glen Albyn (a dismantled distillery at
Between 1957 and 1971 the number of stills was increased
from two to seven. In the early 1970s Balvenie finally
abandoned their almost complete focus on blended whisky
and entered the market for single malts. They met with
immediate success and today several official bottlings
are available –all equally appreciated for their
full-bodied sweet character.
Members of the ‘Balvenie Club’ received an unusual offer
at the end of 2004 when the distillery released one
hundred 10cl Cask Sample Bottles personally selected by
their Malt Master David Stewart. Balvenie intend to
continue the practice and will release another 100
sample bottles when the first batch is sold out.
During 2005 Balvenie plan to open up their distillery to
visitors. The guided tour will include a visit to the
malting floor and to Balvenie’s own cooperage.
the same water source as Glenfiddich, the Robbie Dubh
Spring. They still malt some of their barley in their
traditional floor maltings. The barley is steeped for
two days before it is spread out onto the malting floor.
The germination is allowed to continue for five to seven
days during which the barley has to be turned three
times a day. The malt is then brought into the kiln
where it is dried with heat from burning coal and peat.
The mash tun is modern and holds about 10 tons. The ten
washbacks are made from Douglas fir. Balvenie have nine
copper stills; four wash stills and five spirit stills.
The stills hols between 7 000 litres and 13 000 litres
and are all heated by internal steam coils. A run of a
wash still takes six hours and a run of a spirit still
takes 11 hours. An interesting fact about Balvenie is
that one of their stills has an unusually thick bottom
which has lasted for 35 years as opposed to the usual 15
years. After distillation, the raw spirit is cut down to
63.5 percent alcohol by volume before it is filled into
mostly bourbon and sherry casks. The casks are stored on
site in solid stone warehouses. Bottling is done at
Visitors are currently accepted after advance booking
only; however those who make the effort will enjoy an
excellent and extensive tour. Regular open tours which
require no advance booking will be introduced during
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