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Tasting the Balvenie’s $50,000 Compendium of Ultra-Rare Whiskies

As he prepares to retire, master distiller David Stewart introduces the final 25 bottles of his 53-year-long career.
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Source: The Balvenie

Malt master David Stewart is standing in a small tasting room at the Balvenie’s Dufftown distillery in Speyside, Scotland, holding a few crumpled pieces of paper. Those foolscaps are probably the most labor intensive, top-secret documents he has ever compiled: spreadsheets listing the final 25 whiskies he has created to cap off his 53-year career. With some laid out in several snifters in front to him, he is allowing a few visitors a chance to sample.

“I got quite a surprise, nosing and tasting this one,” Stewart explains, a lowland burr rolling his Rs, upon first finding this rarified, single-cask spirit in the Balvenie archives. “You’re keeping your fingers crossed you might find one worth bottling for the compendium.”