The Balvenie Fifty: Rare and pricey whisky hits the shelves in Vancouver

One of the world’s rarest whiskies made its Canadian debut Thursday, as the The Balvenie Fifty: Marriage 0962 was unveiled at JAK’S Beer Wine Spirits in Vancouver.

The single malt is described as “rich,” and you’ll probably need to be as well if you’re hoping to procure a bottle: it retails for between $75,000 and $100,000 a bottle.

That’s because it’s very special, and sourced from some very old, very valuable materials. This summer, Scottish single malt Scotch whisky distillery Balvenie released their sixth edition of The Balvenie Fifty, this time a vatting of four American oak casks, all aged at least 50 years.

The release continues a tradition that dates back to 1987, when the century-old distillery released a vatting of 1937 vintage whiskies.

Built in 1893 and family-operated ever since, Balvenie boasts an incredible array of aged whisky stocks, allowing them to produce some of the rarest and most distinctive collectors’ whiskies on the market.

The whisky is produced by Balvenie malt master David Stewart, who presided over the challenging process of marrying the aged whisky stocks. There are few better, the distillery said, at handling the all-important maturation process, which “ensures that each expression in The Balvenie range makes the absolute best of the complex alchemy of spirit, wood and time.”

He’d better. The Balvenie Fifty, which is bottled at 41.6 per cent abv, is described as “deep and mature” with notes of oak, maple syrup and citrus with “delicate spice.” But if you’re paying this much for a single bottle of Scotch, one can only hope that the flavours of time and spirit shine through as well.

Even the Balvenie Fifty’s packaging is special: the bottle is presented in a wooden tube comprised of — you guessed it — 50 layers: 48 of walnut and two of brass. It also comes with an etched brass certificate and a bottle stopper inscribed with the tasting notes of each cask.

Just 110 bottles of the latest Balvenie Fifty were made available to buy at specialist retailers beginning in August, but until this week, none of those sellers was in Canada.

The Balvenie Fifty is now available for purchase at JAK’S Beer Wine Spirits on South Granville — provided you have the means, of course.

hmooney@postmedia.com


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