Just In 👉 Rampur Readies Kohinoor Reserve Indian Dark Rum M...

News & New Releases

You don’t need to think too hard about this marriage – Balvenie’s Rare Marriages 25 Years Old Release


What you need to know

  • Balvenie’s Rare Marriage range is one that showcases the distillery character and Malt Master David Stewart MBE’s skill and six-decades of experience in “marrying” whiskies of different styles
  • The first of the range is a 25-year-old that would be released through travel retail channels.
  • This one is expected to have the classic Balvenie character of rich honey and rich oakiness, with a depth of toasted marshmallow and caramelised pear.


(Image Source: The Balvenie)


What is the deal with “marrying” whiskies?

We have written a basic guide to the whisky-making process, a process which essentially covers (1) malting, (2) mashing, (3) fermentation, (4) distillation and (5) maturation. Oftentimes, work is not done even after the maturation step. The experienced distillery manager would proceed to the next step of “marrying” whiskies of different flavour profiles (e.g. one aged in American oak, one aged in Spanish oak) for further complexity and depth of flavour.

Combining two decent whiskies has the potential to create a third, better product, or risk ruining both products. It is that much more stressful if the whiskies have been aged for several decades. The ability to marry precious liquid that has been given 25 years or more to express itself is a complex craft due to the extreme variances of taste, strength, depth and particular flavours that result from long-term ageing.


Balvenie’s The Rare Marriages Range


David Stewart of Balvenie Distillery (Image Source: The Balvenie)


Balvenie Distillery has recently unveiled the Rare Marriage line, a new range of premium Balvenie single malts. Like the prior Marriage series, the Rare Marriages range showcases the distillery character and Malt Master David Stewart MBE’s skill and six-decades of experience. To create the Rare Marriage series, Stewart selects and marries significantly aged whisky selected from American oak casks and Spanish oak casks from the oldest sections of The Balvenie’s stocks.


(Image Source: The Balvenie)


The collection comprises of 3 expressions aged 25, 30 and a luxurious 40 years respectively.

The first release and defining product is The Balvenie 25. This would be made available at selected travel retail channels in July.

The Balvenie 25 is aged for 25 years. Part of the expression was aged in American oak, the other part was aged in Spanish oak. The two parts were then masterfully “married” together by under the direction of David Stewart. It is a 48% ABV natural-coloured, non-chill filtered spirit.


(Image Source: The Balvenie)


This release is presented in a striking and coffee case designed to represent the complex flavours arising from the marrying process. The case features etched golden rings for every year of maturation. A company spokesperson said that Stewart has combined liquid from individual casks to create “an incredibly intricate and balanced expression”.

According to Stewart himself, “the first release of The Balvenie Twenty-Five expression is immediately recognisable as The Balvenie with the distinct rich honey and underlying rich oakiness however when given time, the flavour unfolds to reveal a whole new depth — from toasted marshmallow and caramelised pear to citrus richness and mellow oakiness”.

We have received word that the tasting notes are as such:

On the nose: soft autumn fruits, honey and crystallised ginger with an underlying oakiness.

On the palate: a combination of bold vanilla flavours with layers of toasted marshmallows, fruit terrine and cinnamon-infused apple tart.

The finish: long-lasting sweetness of autumn fruits.

The recommended retail price has not been released, but we expect this to be priced somewhere between S$700 to S$900.


Our take

This expression appears to deliver a straightforward high quality and rare dram with Balvenie’s signature rich honey oakiness flavour profile. Without trying it, there is nothing immediately novel or unusual about it, expect for its age. We shall see what happens when it becomes available to the public.

There has also been a lot of hype and anticipation surrounding this release, probably because the previously-received Balvenie 50 – Marriage 0197 expression had received some rave reviews but was priced as much as an automobile.



The timing of this release is unsurprising. As travel resumes and airports around the world restart operations, I reckon there would indeed be some pent-up demand from travellers looking for a good premium expression.

The remaining bottles of the Rare Marriages range would be released down the line towards the end of the year.


The Balvenie 30 (ABV 44.2%) and The Balvenie 40 (Cask Strength)


How much would you shell out for a Balvenie 25?