The Balvenie distillery was built in 1892 by William J. Grant. The name Balvenie means 'village of luck'. The company is still in the hand of the William Grant & Sons Ltd. When the distillery was built Grant had to save a bit on the equipment. The stills were used stills from the Lagavulin distillery. Over the years the Balvenie whisky became very popular and the distillery increased the number of stills from two to four. In 1971 the whole distillery was renovated and the number of stills was increased to a total of nine stills. Due to the high production the malt cannot be fully supplied by the malting floors at the distillery. So the distillery has to buy malt from the big malting companies.
One interesting fact is that the Balvenie distillery didn't have a distillery bottling until 1973. Today it has a big range of standard distillery whiskies with a common design
The Balvenie is unlike all other single malt Scotch whiskies, thanks to a unique combination of human craft and natural alchemy.A visit to the Balvenie Distillery in Speyside brings this unique combination to life. The craft and nature's mysteries have not changed in Balvenie production in over a century. Balvenie still has its own floor malting, the last in the Highlands and the barley is grown and harvested on site.
The Balvenie whiskies have a very definite distillery character. All the whiskies are sweet with honey and vanilla notes. This distillery character is then nicely combined with flavours of different casks. This marriage of fruity flavours with the honey and vanilla makes Balvenie a typical Speyside distillery. The core range is very large with the 12 years Double Wood as their leading whisky. The core range goes up to the 30 year-old. These whiskies become even better as the sweet and soft tones are complemented with oak and darker flavours like leather or cigars.There are only few independent bottlings of the Balvenie distillery. So there are only a handful of bottles on the market with whisky straight from the cask.
Over the last years the Monkey Shoulder blended whisky was developed. The Balvenie distillery partly supplies whisky for the Monkey Shoulder and serves as a sweet spice in the blend
The production output at Balvenie is very high for a single malt distillery. The distillery has an annual output of 5.6 million litres of alcohol. This output is reached with five wash stills and six spirit stills. Also very interesting is the production depth at Balvenie. Balvenie has an own farm, malting floors, local spring, copper-smith, cooperage and all the usual distillery departments.
The malt is grown at the Balvenie Main. It is 1000 acres large and grows traditional Scottish barley.
Balvenie kept the traditional malting floors and is now one of the few distilleries where you can buy whisky that is made in the style of before the industrialisation of whisky.The copper-smith keeps all the piping and the pot stills in good shape. Balvenie states that the shape of their stills is one of the most important factors in the creation of the distillery character.
The coopers at Balvenie are also very crucial to the typical flavour of Balvenie. They inspect, repair, rebuild, fill and seal casks all day. The great variation of casks at Balvenie makes this department very necessary to the distillery