A little history: The Balvenie distillery lies in the Convals of Dufftown, Speyside region of Scotland. It was built by William Grant just below Glenfiddich in 1892, sharing its water source, the Robbie Dhu springs, with its illustrious neighbor. Despite also having the same distiller, Balvenie is hugely different in character. It is one of the few Scotch distilleries to boast in-house floor maltings, utilizing locally hand-cut peat.
Meet David Stewart, Balvenie’s Malt Master and wizard of all things whisky. Born in Ayr on the west coast of Scotland in 1945, David started work at William Grant & Sons as an apprentice in 1962, the year before single malt Scotch whisky was first officially exported to England, when Glenfiddich became the first single malt to be enjoyed outside of Scotland. Following a 12-year apprenticeship at the independent family distillers, learning the skills of nosing and blending the best quality Scotch whisky, David was appointed Malt Master, a position he has held ever since.
During his 50 years at William Grant & Sons, David has developed an award-winning range of single malts and blends which have earned him some of the industry’s top accolades and helped the independent company become Distiller of the Year an unprecedented number of times by some of the world’s most prestigious tasting competitions.
It didn’t come as a surprise when in 2012, the company launched the Balvenie 17-year-old DoubleWood to commemorate David’s 50th anniversary with the distillery. WoW Austin attendees will be among the first to appreciate this wonderful double-matured malt with the rich and smooth character and holiday dessert accent (which brings to mind the fact that the holidays are fast approaching).