The Balvenie has unveiled a new whisky, French Oak 16 Year Old. This marks the first time the Speyside distillery has used French oak in its 129-year history.
The expression uses casks from Pineau des Charentes, a fortified wine made from fresh, unfermented grape juice or a blend of lightly fermented grape must, to which a Cognac eau-de-vie is added and then matured. Produced from the sun-kissed grapes of rolling green vineyards, this rich fruity wine is steeped in tradition and seldom found outside the region. Maturing for 16 years in traditional American Oak whisky barrels to develop the distillery’s distinct notes of warm honey, the expression is then finished in Pineau French Oak casks bringing to life velvety sweetness with notes of grapefruit, geranium, glazed fruit, and ginger.
“Our casks have been used to season Red Pineau des Charantes, and all have a variety of different histories,” explained Anna Austin, wood buyer at William Grant & Sons. “The complexity of their journey to The Balvenie is what brings the depth of flavour to our whisky. By working closely with specialist wine cask suppliers who source the casks from some very special French wineries, we know we can deliver on the highest quality we strive for in our craft.”
The French Oak 16 Year Old is part of the Flavours of The Balvenie range which includes the Madeira Cask 15 Year Old and PX Sherry Cask 18 Year Old.
“With the release of our new French Oak 16 Year Old, we are exploring yet another world of flavour through the incredible cask finishing process which our malt master of nearly 60 years, David C. Stewart MBE, pioneered decades ago,” said Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie brand ambassador UK. “It’s incredible to watch the flavours unfurl in a new way with the addition of these Pineau de Charantes casks and showcases that the skill it takes to continue innovating is deep within our ethos of staying true to being a maker at heart.”
The Balvenie French Oak 16 Year Old is available from select retailers, including Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop, for £123 per 70cl bottle.
For more information, head over to the distillery’s official website.
Last month, The Balvenie added three new whiskies to its Cask Finishes range. Two of the new expressions from the Speyside distillery will be launched exclusively into the travel retail market. In November, the distillery introduced the latest addition to its coveted Stories range, The Tale of the Dog.