A group of 40 adults has paid $95 each to deconstruct and reconstruct The Balvenie Signature Batch this evening at Astor Center. As luck would have it, we had the chance to participate in a little preview of the event with drinks makers Shingo Gokan of Angel’s Share, Albert Trummer of Apotheke and Jim Ryan, formerly of Dressler who now shills for Hendrick’s gin as a brand ambassador. Gathered in the brick-walled back room at Tavern on Jane, participants took cask-strength samples of Balvenie’s DoubleWood (aged in bourbon casks), Single Barrel 15-Yr (aged in oloroso sherry casks) and PortWood whiskeys and mixed them with water by hand to try to recreate the single malt blend that is Signature Batch. We think we came pretty close to the original, but it was difficult to make a bad blend with three good scotches. Or at least that’s what we told ourselves as we polished off the results.
If you haven’t already bought tickets to tonight’s sold-out event, you can always try to recreate the experiment at home, although bottles of each scotch run $60 to $130. Or you can just buy the Signature Batch already conveniently blended and bottled. Batch 2, a blend that more closely resembles what Balvenie tasted like in 1964, before Master Distiller David Stewart introduced his patented finishing technique, has just been released and retails for $52. Balvenie whiskeys are special because it’s one of only a few family-owned distilleries left in Scotland. Additionally, it’s the only one to grow and malt its own barley, and use its own cooper.