The spirit of craft lives on at The Balvenie, the only distillery in the Scottish Highlands that maintains the Five Rare Crafts of whisky making. This commitment to craftsmanship brings invaluable skill, knowledge, experience and passion to every stage of the process through the hands of our dedicated craftsmen. In a world of automation, The Balvenie maintains its distinctive character, and its heart.
OUR farmersOur farming team's instincts for when to sow and harvest are crucial, as the Scottish weather is so unpredictable.
The Balvenie is the only distillery in the Scottish Highlands that still grows and malts a proportion of its own barley. Farming goes back generations in the Wiseman family and the tradition lives on with James Wiseman's son and apprentice, Duncan, who learns from his father how to turn years of hindsight into years of foresight.
Our malt menIt is not just about turning the grain - it's the deep understanding of the end product that lies at the heart of this age-old craft.
Robbie is passing down a deep understanding of the malting process to apprentices Roy Duffus and Matthew Paterson. He steeps the barley in spring water for 26 hours, then drains it for 23. The malt men must then turn the grain so it maintains the correct temperature and germinates evenly. To see if the barley's ready, Robbie applies a tried and tested technique, using a grain to write his name on the floor. Finally they dry it with enough peat in the kiln to add smokiness to the whisky.
OUR CoppersmithsThe skills needed to build and repair the stills are an important part of maintaining The Balvenie’s character.
The distinctive shape of these pot stills gives our whisky its honeyed flavour. That’s why Dennis' coppersmithing skills are essential for maintaining The Balvenie’s character. As he reaches retirement, his apprentice George Singer will be following in his footsteps, learning to maintain the intricate valves and pipework of the spirit safes and to hammer flat copper sheets into the beautiful curves of the stills.
OUR COOPERSOnly the cooper's touch is trusted to get the best from the casks, ensuring they are wind and water tight.
Ian has been working with wood for so long that his hands know American oak from European by feel. His craft is repairing and rebuilding the casks that breathe character into our whisky, a skill that takes four years to hone – and far longer to master. Ian’s apprentice, Jason Taylor wanted to become a cooper to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. He’s learning the same skills his grandad did long ago, and still all without a tape measure.
OUR MALt MASTERDavid has dedicated 54 years of his life to the Scotch whisky industry. His pioneering techniques have had a profound impact on the production methods used today. He is renowned for his groundbreaking work particularly around ‘cask finishes’ for The Balvenie and has developed a number of award-winning whiskies enjoyed and loved by drinkers all over the world. In 2016, David was presented with an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen.
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