Whisky Magazine Issue 84
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The VIP tour of Balvenie is quite arguably the best Scotland has to offer. Our man indulged himself.
If the Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries were musicians, they would be Liam and Noel Gallagher.
While obviously members of the same family, the two could scarcely be more different than each other: Glenfiddich, the cocky frontman, is the public face of the band, capable of selling millions of units worldwide and never happier facing up to the fans and showing off when thrust into the limelight.
Meanwhile Balvenie's the inspirational sibling: quieter, less obvious, not necessarily as well known by the general public. But among the die-hards and genuine enthusiasts there's a massive respect. Liam does a fine job and has come up with a few gems in his time, but for aficianados it's Noel who represents consistency and quality.
The contrasts between the two have always been stark, but especially on this Autumn day, as scores of whisky enthusiasts from around the world flock to Glenfiddich to pay homage to its latest offering, a delicate and rare 50 Years Old with a £10,000 price tag.
Balvenie sits on the same site as Glenfiddich and with the attention of the whisky world elsewhere, is more subdued and sullen than usual. Quiet, too, which is great because it means we have it all to ourselves. It's a bit like being told that you've got an exclusive four hour one to one interview with Noel Gallagher – and he's ready to talk about anything.
I should point out here that I wasn't quite sure about the four hour thing. After all,how much traipsing around a distillery can you d...