The Balvenie Sixty, which was laid to rest in European oak hogshead casks in 1962, was handpicked by succeeding malt master Kelsey McKechnie to celebrate malt master David C. Stewart’s 60-year anniversary
It was 1962 when 17-year-old David Stewart MBE joined The Balvenie as a whisky stocks clerk who managed invoices and ledgers. Little did anyone know back then that this would be the start of Stewart’s long and fruitful career that has led to him becoming the distillery’s malt master (after a 12-year apprenticeship) until today.
This is no doubt a milestone, not just at The Balvenie, but in the whole whisky industry where Stewart holds the title of being the longest-serving malt master. That said, the distillery has released The Balvenie Sixty, its oldest expression to date that celebrates the living legend’s 60-year anniversary.
The new make spirit—which was laid to rest in traditional European oak hogshead casks the year Stewart joined the distillery—was personally chosen by succeeding malt master Kelsey Mckechnie. “I have learned so much from David at work and his mentorship has made a profound impact on me,” she shares. Thus, finding a cask that would hold a candle to an icon was a difficult task but a great honour.
A fitting tribute to Stewart, the cask she selected is complex and vibrant. On the nose, Mckechnie explains that it has “a mesmerising array of autumnal aromas, lavender, heather and bracken.” Dominating the palate, however, are characters of rich toffee and roasted coffee. The more you sip, the more the taste evolves with bursts of nutmeg, charred oak and candied orange which lead to an exceptionally long-lasting finish.
The whisky is stored in a hand-blown crystal bottle that is etched with a quote from McKechnie to represent the current decade and future generations of The Balvenie. Furthermore, the bottle is enclosed in a tube casing made from glass, gold and brass. And as a poignant reminder of Stewart’s time at The Balvenie, the packaging contains personal anecdotes from individuals who have been impacted by Stewart.
Only 71 bottles of The Balvenie Sixty are available worldwide. It is available for purchase at The Distillers Library in Singapore.