The Balvenie Unveils a 42 Year Old as Latest Expression to Join the Celebrated Stories Collection
Published Date: 16th November 2021
November 2021: The Balvenie announces the release of The Tale of the Dog, the latest addition to the coveted Balvenie Stories range - a collection of single malt whiskies representing tales of character, endeavour and generational knowledge gathered at The Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland by its craftsmen.
Inspired by one of The Balvenie's longest serving characters, The Tale of the Dog tells the story of one of Coppersmith, Dennis McBain's clearest memories working at the distillery over 50 years ago. As a young apprentice, McBain was exposed to a new world of distillery life when a brewer asked for a copper dog - a little copper tube once used for siphoning off whisky straight from the cask - to be flattened and put back for its owner to find. The humbling tale taught McBain what a dog was in the whisky world, why the expression 'taking a dog for a walk' was used at the distillery, and that whoever it belonged to had been sent a message, but ultimately given a second chance. McBain's memory then inspired his suggestion of using dogs instead of unwieldy valinches for distillery tour tastings. And so, every dog used in Warehouse 24 tours is there because of Dennis McBain and his early days at The Balvenie.
Aged for 42 years, The Tale of the Dog is a smooth and honeyed expression of The Balvenie, perfectly balanced with mouth-watering toffee flavours enveloping a nutty honey spice and a lingering oak finish. The casks chosen come from a time before the industry stopped the practice of 'dramming', where workers received drams while at work. When the 'dramming' stopped, the industry also tightened its other regulations, and it became impossible to 'walk the dog' from that point on. A fitting tribute to Dennis and The Tale of the Dog, these casks are among the few that might have been visited by a dog back then.
Gemma Paterson, Global Ambassador, says, "This story captivates people across the world whenever our Ambassadors share it with them. It's so exciting to be able to share it in the form of a whisky now to celebrate such a heart-warming story and one of our distilleries best loved characters."
David C. Stewart M.B.E. says "The Tale of the Dog is one of the stories people most love hearing about The Balvenie - from a time when you did used to wonder sometimes if the dogs were taking their share, as well as the angels! These two casks, from 1978 and 1974, are wonderful liquids chosen to represent the story."
Storytelling is carried through every aspect of The Tale of the Dog, with its anecdote depicted on the whisky's packaging. Presented with a replica flattened copper dog, the bottle is encased in a wooden tube wrapped in leather, printed with a bespoke illustration, specific to the liquid, from British artist and printmaker Andy Lovell. Having drawn inspiration direct from the distillery, Andy's uses bold, hand-made gestural marks to build up images that capture the evocative light and atmosphere of the distillery's landscape. The texture and tactility of Andy's work emphasises the importance of human creativity in the production of The Balvenie whiskies and the exceptional products that can be made when Makers pour their heart into what they do.
Joining four other liquids in the Stories range, each liquid in the range brings to life a distinct narrative of the human touch, skill, and emotion behind every liquid produced by The Balvenie.
Drinkers can hear the story of The Tale of the Dog via a specially recorded podcast series, featuring the craftspeople behind the expression, as well as The Balvenie Global Ambassador Gemma Paterson. This podcast will be available through Spotify and iTunes and via a QR code tag inside the pack, that drinkers can scan using their smartphones.