You can’t help but chuckle when you receive a press release in your inbox for any scotch box set that is going to be retailing for $80,000. Who are the people who purchase these kinds of sets? Are they all Russian oligarchs? NBA superstars? Bitcoin millionaires who don’t know what to do with their earnings? We can’t say for sure, except to note that you presumably won’t be reading about any of the tasting notes from Paste, because we’re in no way lucky enough to receive samples of such insanely expensive product. Still, it’s fun to dream, right?
Announced today, The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky’s new The Balvenie Compendium Chapter Five is the set in question. This one is dubbed “Malt Master’s Indulgence” and is the fifth and final in this series of quintuple bottle releases (we’re hoping these are 750 ml, because you know, $80,000), which has previously included sets titled “Distillery Style,” “The Influence of Oak,” “Secrets of the Stock Model” and “Expecting the Unexpected.” All are single-cask, single-malt scotch whiskies selected by Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE.
As The Balvenie puts it:
As one of the whisky industry’s longest-serving Malt Masters, with just over 57 years’ experience, David’s selection of liquids for Chapter Five is a nod to his greatest indulgence—having the freedom to earmark casks simply because they have the potential to be spectacular, holding on to them, and watching them mature into beautiful liquid. Without David’s enduring determination, patience and skill, these liquids would have never seen the light of day, and each expression in this final chapter represents this unbridled experimentation.
The whiskies of Compendium Chapter Five range between 16 and 56 years in age, going all the way back to a “fragrant and sweet 1962 vintage” aged in an Oloroso sherry hogshead, which commemorates Stewart’s first year on the job at Balvenie. The full range is as follows:
— 1962, Aged 56 years – Cask No. 5575, European oak Oloroso sherry hogshead, filled June 29th, 1962: 42.1% ABV, SRP $47,000
— 1974, Aged 44 years – Cask No. 17706, Refill American oak barrel, filled December 9th, 1974: 51.3% ABV, not available for individual sale
— 1983, Aged 35 years – Cask No. 4483, Refill American oak hogshead, filled September 27th, 1983: 42.0% ABV, not available for individual sale
— 2001, Aged 18 years – Cask No. 9325, European oak Fino sherry butt, filled April 25th, 2001: 63.5% ABV, not available for individual sale
— 2002, Aged 16 years – Cask No. 12147, First-fill American oak bourbon barrel, filled September 18th, 2002: 53.9% ABV, not available for individual sale
“It takes a good deal of time to understand how each cask differs and how whisky maturation is affected by various wood types,” said Stewart, who was only 17 when he first began working at the distillery in 1962. “You need confidence to select casks and know which are likely to achieve greatness. Working for a family company, I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the freedom to make stock decisions based on my preference and vision, with the free rein to pick casks and hold on to whisky, not always knowing what I’m going to do with it, for no other reason than thinking one day it will be extraordinary. For me, this is indulgence in its truest form.”
Well, there you have it. Also: Indulgence costs roughly $80,000, so if you have that kind of cash laying around, you might have a chance to be one of only 50 people who own one of these box sets. You can find more information about the set here.