The ultimate whisky gift - for $57,000
There are people whose job it is to distill whisky, and on a higher plane are the revered “masters of malt”, a title only attained after decades of dedication to their craft.
Sitting above them all is David Charles Stewart, the 71-year-old Scotsman who arguably knows more about the malted spirit than any other on the planet.
Though he has begun a gentle transition to retirement, the master distiller at The Balvenie distillery remains as influential as ever in whisky circles.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping a ‘finished’ whisky - one that has acquired an extra flavour and complexity from a short final stint in an intriguingly different cask - then you have Stewart to thank for your great fortune. He invented the technique many decades ago, and has continued to innovate in a tradition-driven industry ever since.
To mark a career exceptionally well spent in the pursuit of whisky excellence, The Balvenie commissioned Stewart to track down some of the most momentous whiskies of the past several decades. From these, he has compiled a series of five tribute sets or ‘chapters’ - each comprising five hand-selected bottles - that spell out his legacy. They’re known, quite literally, as the DCS Collection.
The first chapter, titled ‘Distillery Style’, went on sale in July with only 50 released worldwide and just one set available in Australia. Available from Dan Murphy’s, the flight of five of Stewart’s most treasured whiskies retails for $57,000.
Chapter 1 includes a bottle of the Balvenie’s cherished 1968 release, which has spent 46 years in oak and is valued at more than $26,000 by itself. It’s accompanied by bottles from 1978, 1985, 1997 and 2005, and presented in a hand-crafted, individually numbered walnut and brass presentation frame.
The set also comes with a copy of the DCS Compendium, a comprehensive set of notes compiled by Balvenie ambassador Dr Sam Simmons to encompass the treasure trove of Stewart’s encyclopaedic whisky knowledge.
It could be the ultimate Christmas gift for the whisky lover who claims to have already tasted everything on the top shelf.