While there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who’ve been in the ‘family’ of distilling and making single malt Scotches (as well as blends), there is really only a handful of people (or arguably none) who have had as much influence as David Stewart, Malt Master at The Balvenie for over 50 years. Besides developing the practice of finishing whiskies (with the 12 year Doublewood – which he developed before the term ‘finishing’ was termed for the practice) and developing all the single malts at The Balvenie. He also consulted in the design of the Glencairn whisky glass, now considered the preeminent piece of glassware to enjoy the spirit. So valued is his work that last year he was bestowed the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire (or MBE).
A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with David Stewart for a few minutes after an intimate tasting he led at Jack Rose Sallon in Washington, DC. Take a few minutes (bear with the background noise) and listen to the words from one of the true legends in the history of Scotch Whisky as we discuss his ‘favorite’ single malt from The Balvenie, some of the process that makesThe Balvenie the distinctive and world renown single malt we enjoy today – and he sets the record straight about the Kininvie distillery‘s origins.