Half a century in the making, The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 shines a new light on the unique skill of The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE.

The Balvenie has announced the release of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962, an expression of exceptional quality, that typifies the skill and knowledge needed to marry significantly aged single malt Scotch whisky. The bottling is comprised of highly rare liquid sourced from four American Oak casks aged 50 years or over, each meticulously selected from the oldest sections of The Balvenie’s stocks by Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE.

Marrying whisky of this age is rarely attempted. Liquid given 50 years or more to express itself can develop flavors that are uniquely intriguing, but their extreme variances of taste, strength and depth make the task complex to say the least. David’s accomplishment has been to select and vat four casks into an exquisite whole that combines—and enhances—their many delicate notes. In this way, The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 is a unique expression displaying David’s ongoing commitment to experiment and innovation, and representing the very pinnacle of the malt master’s knowledge and ability.

The Balvenie has a rich history of 50-year-old variants. Its first was a 1937, bottled in 1987, at a time when such vintages were almost unknown. Mirroring today’s release, the 1937 was a vatting of four constituent casks, each imparting its own unique and aged flavor. In 2002, the smallest ever release of The Balvenie Fifty saw a mere 83 bottles of uniquely rich liquid taken from the famed Cask 191, Balvenie’s last cask remaining from the 1950s.

In 2012 The Balvenie’s third 50-year-old was drawn from a 1962 European oak sherry hogshead. Just 88 bottles we’re sold in honor of David’s 50th year with William Grant & Sons. And 2014 saw the twin bottlings of two identical casks from 1963 which had matured with markedly different characters. The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 continues this tradition of innovation by presenting a 50-year-old with an even more complex story.

“Marriage 0962 is the number which corresponds with the month and year I joined William Grant & Sons. Marrying aged whisky stocks is undoubtedly one of the most challenging, yet enjoyable facets of my role as The Balvenie Malt Master. This was a chance to explore the furthest reaches of our precious aged stocks and see how their extremes could be controlled and combined. Despite enjoying more than 55 years in the business, I’m still discovering and learning new things about the science and art of whisky making. The creation of Marriage 0962 took months of patience to complete, as we’re dealing with liquids with extremes in ABV, taste and age. It’s not every day I get the opportunity to work with liquids of such age, so it was a huge pleasure to be able to share it with the world today.”
– Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE

The final liquid, bottled at 41.6% ABV, combines malt and oak with brown sugar, toffee and ground ginger on the nose, followed by further oaky notes, maple syrup, tangy citrus and classic honeyed Balvenie sweetness to taste. The finish is long and lingering, with dried fruits, and vanilla oaky spice notes.

Each bottling of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 is presented in a beautiful wooden tube comprised of 50 layers, 48 of walnut and two of brass, expertly handcrafted by Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery at his workshop on Bruntlands Farm near Elgin, Scotland. The presentation also includes an etched brass certificate and bottle glorifier, inscribed with the tasting notes of each constituent cask and the taste, palette and finish of the final marriage. The decanters for Marriage 0962 have been hand-blown from 100% lead-free crystal by Brodie Nairn and his team of expert craftsmen at Glasstorm, based in Tain, Scotland. The bespoke design of the glass decanter is a sleek reinterpretation of the classic Balvenie bottle shape, which itself mirrors the silhouette of the copper stills at the distillery.

The Balvenie Fifty Marriage 0962, bottle and packaging

The Balvenie Fifty Marriage 0962

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 is now available in the U.S. at select retailers (SRP: $38,000).

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 tasting notes

  • Nose: Malt and oak intermingle with notes of brown sugar, toffee and a gentle hint of spiced ground ginger
  • Palate: Deep and mature with delicate notes of oak, layered with maple syrup, tangy citrus and a trace of nutmeg, developing into a delicious honeyed sweetness
  • Finish: Long and lingering with layers of complex dried fruits, vanilla, oak, delicate spice and a luscious sweetness

The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 constituent cask information:

  • Cask 6430, American Oak – 24% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962
  • Cask 6428, American Oak – 5% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962
  • Cask 3094, American Oak – 24% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962
  • Cask 0732, American Oak – 47% of The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962
For more information, visit TheBalvenie.com.