News: Balvenie DCS Compendium

The Balvenie DCS Compendium


This week we witnessed another distillery turning itself towards the super premium audience and releasing a series of outrageously priced single malts.

Now let me start by saying I have great respect for The Balvenie in general, and for malt master David Stewart in particular, who gave us high quality core range bottlings and innovative ideas like the Tun 1401 / Tun 1509 / Tun 1858 series. The fact that he’s retiring absolutely deserves a milestone release and a great tribute.

That being said, it seems that marketing-wise Stewart has been retiring for the last five years or so and yet he’s still at work. Everything remotely interesting has been presented by the distillery as the special legacy of this craftsman.


The latest tribute, called The Balvenie DCS Compendium, is a bit over the top, unless they meant to get in the same pool with the excessive super premiums from Dalmore or Macallan. The DCS Compendium is a series of 25 single cask bottlings, divided into five “chapters”, each with its own theme.

Chapter 1, released this week, is the distillery style and is formed by these whiskies:

  • Balvenie DCS Compendium 2005 Aged 9 Years
  • Balvenie DCS Compendium 1997 Aged 17 Years
  • Balvenie DCS Compendium 1985 Aged 30 Years
  • Balvenie DCS Compendium 1978 Aged 37 Years
  • Balvenie DCS Compendium 1968 Aged 46 Years

The problem? The youngest one sells for around € 600 (that’s a 9 year-old indeed), the 1968 for around € 26.000. If anyone would consider collecting the whole DCS Compendium, they’d need to set apart around € 175.000. And according to the first reviews, they aren’t exactly outstanding so most of the money goes to the concept and storytelling.

You know, as a malt master I wouldn’t be happy with a tribute that (as far as I can tell) has little to do with the actual enjoyment of the whisky.