Booze Banter

An Evening With The Balvenie Rare Craft Roadshow

Two jokes about Scottish frugality, as told by The Balvenie Brand Ambassador:

  • What’s the difference between a Scotsman and a canoe? The canoe tips occasionally.
  • What’s the difference between a Scotsman and a coconut? There’s a chance of getting a drink out of a coconut

I never realized Scotland’s reputation as a land of thriftiness until I started drinking Scotch whisky (alot of jokes are told after a few drams afterall). The Scots may be a thrifty lot, but let me tell you, when they invite you to taste their whisky, they are incredibly generous. Numerous pours of fantastic whisky and a full course meal. What more could you ask for?

On Thursday, September 29th, Swag Master Rick and I attended an event called The Balvenie Rare Craft Roadshow at The Palm Restaurant in Philadelphia. Here is what The Balvenie has to say about their celebration of Rare Crafts:

Whether you’re an artist, a mechanic, or a chef, it’s the craft that makes the difference. True craftsmanship takes skill and patience, but the results are always worth it.

The Balvenie Roadshow is a celebration of rare craftsmanship across America. We’re on a cross-country road trip to honor the talented people who keep traditional methods alive, sharing some of our whisky along the way.

We make whisky the way we always have, never compromising our sacred traditions. The unique character of Balvenie single malts is owed to our Five Rare Crafts: home grown barley, our own floor maltings, our own coppersmith, an on-site cooperage, and our Malt Master David Stewart (the longest serving Malt Master in the industry).

The Morgan Plus 8. A handcrafted sports car from England.

The Philadelphia event that we attended was scheduled to run from 6PM to 9PM. There was a cocktail hour for the first hour, a whisky tasting led by Andrew Weir (The Balvenie’s Brand Ambassador) for the second hour, and a buffet dinner for the final hour. Here is a list of food and drinks that were served:

  • Appetizers and Cocktails: Gin and Tonics made with Hendrick’s Gin. Shrimp Cocktail (they were HUGE!). Mushrooms stuffed with lump crab meat. Spring Rolls. And much more!
  • Whisky Tasting: DoubleWood 12, Single Barrel 15, Peated Cask 17, Caribben Cask 14, PortWood 21, and The Balvenie 30.
  • Buffet Dinner: Two kinds of pasta. Hand carved tenderloin of beef. Mashed potatoes. String beans. Cured meats. Roasted vegetables. Chicken parm sliders. There were a few other dishes served that I can’t remember. I’m sure Rick will refresh my memory.

Five of the six different expressions from The Balvenie that we sampled.


The Tasting Mat

A vision in amber. Does this count as whisky porn?

I wish I could go into greater detail about the evening, but after having six generous pours of whiskies and a Gin and Tonic, all of the details are a bit murky. What I CAN tell you is that we had an excellent night! We spoke with several representatives from William Grant & Sons (they own The Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Hendricks Gin, etc.), ate some great food, listened to a very informative and entertaining presentation by Mr. Weir, drank some wonderful whisky, and even met a fellow blogger (Matt of Whiskey Goldmine). My only regret is not having enough time to really explore the whiskies (the 21 and 30 year old expressions were particularly beguiling, and The Peated Cask and the Single Barrel are definitely going on my Christmas list).

Thanks again to Andrew Weir and David Kent of William Grant for the invitation!

13 replies »

    • Katherine is a very generous woman! The 21 was very very good. Unfortunately, by the time I got to it, it was my 4th drink. For whatever reason, we didn’t have any water at our table, so it was tough to palate cleanse between pours. The 12, aka DoubleWood, is excellent! Talk about a great value priced (relatively speaking of course) whisky. Definitely one that I go back to often.


  1. G-LO, have you tried their Monkey Shoulder? It’s a vatted malt made with Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie (the third distillery on that site). Very, very nice!


    • Monkey Shoulder sounds really familiar. Did the Dramalot crew write up a review of this? I’ll keep an eye out for this one at the SMWSA Extravaganza. Thanks for the tip!


      • If we haven’t done a write up, we should. It’s a very useful whisky, mainly because you’ll find it in bars which don’t think malt whisky is cool. So you’ll go in, there’ll be about ten rums, seven tequilas, nine bourbons, one sad looking bottle of Bells and the Monkey Shoulder.


  2. I note a distinct lack of swag plundered from this event. The Swag Master may be demoted to Swag Apprentice and you ….. I give you enough shit …. you get a pass but I am watching you!!


    • Correct. No swag for the taking.

      But before you pick on The Rick, let me put a retail value (crazy ass Center City Philly prices circa 2011) on the food and drink of the evening…

      Food: At least $40/person
      Gin & Tonics: $10 each

      The Whiskies: We were given 1.5 ounce pours. The per pour prices are based upon 75% of what they charge at the two bars mentioned below since they serve 2 ounce pours.

      DoubleWood 12
      Cooperage Price: $9
      Village Whisky Price: $13.50

      Single Barrel 15
      Cooperage Price: $12
      Village Whisky Price: N/A

      Peated Cask 17
      Cooperage Price: $24
      Village Whisky Price: $30

      Caribbean Cask 14
      Cooperage Price: $15
      Village Whisky Price: N/A

      PortWood 21
      Cooperage Price: N/A
      Village Whisky Price: $37.50

      The Balvenie 30
      Master of Malt: $500+ for a 70cl bottle

      I’d say we got our money’s worth.


  3. Sounds like a great event. I’ve got a good friend who’s really into whisky and he has gotten me a few bottles over the years as gifts. I’m mainly a craft brew guy myself. I don’t pretend to know too much about whisky, but I know what I like. Right now I have The Balvenie Doublewood and Portwood in my bar and really like them both. I’ll send my buddy a link to your article and hope to get one of the others this holiday season. Slainte!


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