In line with The Balvenie’s pursuit for ultimate craftsmanship, the award winning Single Malt Scotch Whisky makers recently auctioned a one-of-its-kind art piece created by celebrated artist Thomas Powell for RM26,000. The original oak cask canvas which was specially flown in from the distillery in Scotland had been used to age numeourous amounts of whiskies since 1992, marking the celebration of The Balvenie Thirty.
The Balvenie Thirty is one of The Balvenie’s rarest single malt whiskies created by Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE who has hand-selected only exceptional casks that were laid down over thirty years ago. By marrying Traditional and European oak casks that have been matured for decades, he has crafted a liquid with incredible sweetness and complexity.
The art piece titled ‘Layered Refinement’ pays homage to the layers and phases of human effort and skill devoted to producing something worthwhile. Similar to The Balvenie’s Five Rare Crafts where its craftsmen have an intimate understanding of their materials and a desire to make the very best whisky possible, Thomas Powell has injected the same dedication and refinement into his piece which showcases layers of different material and effort to produce the porcelain effect.
“First I wanted to create a stark contrast between the ruggedness of the cask and the delicate refinement of porcelain. I chose porcelain because of its visual juxtaposition and its significance in defining the heritage in both eastern and western cultures. I also wanted to visually tell the story of The Balvenie’s process of producing their whisky. Each major production phase is framed by elements inspired by both Scotland and Malaysia; nature combined with man made processes – a delicate balance that needs to be cared for at all costs,” stated Powell.
The auction was held at a specially curated dinner conceptualised by Chef Nathalie of Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio and hosted by The Balvenie Brand Ambassador Brett Bayly. The gustatory journey presented new dimensions of flavour which brought to life the nutty sweetness, cinnamon spiciness and the delicately proportioned layers of The Balvenie Doublewood 12, the rounded vanilla, sweet oak notes and fruity character of The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 and the rich toasted almonds and cinnamon, coupled with hints of creamy toffee of The Balvenie Doublewood 17.
“We were thrilled to host this unique auction and present this exclusive release. The Balvenie continuously looks to inspire a new generation of makers in their fields, aiming to explore modern creativity across various categories. It has been an absolute privilege to work together with a creative maven like Thomas Powell to provide our audience of passionate and discerning whisky enthusiasts with a truly unique offering for their collection,” commented Brett Bayly, The Balvenie Brand Ambassador for South East Asia.
All proceeds from the sale of the ‘Layered Refinement’ masterpiece has been donated to United Voice, a self-advocacy group for persons with learning disabilities. Its vision is to ensure that everyone shares the same rights, responsibilities, and potential for growth, even if one is born with a learning disability.