The Tale of the Dog, the fifth instalment in the series, tells the story of one of coppersmith Dennis McBain’s clearest memories of working at the distillery over 50 years ago. As a young apprentice, he was exposed to a new world of distillery life when a brewer asked for a copper dog – a little copper tube once used for illicitly syphoning off whisky from the cask – to be flattened and put back for its owner to find.
This experience taught McBain not only why “taking a dog for a walk” was an expression used at the distillery, but also that whoever it belonged to had been sent a message (and given a second chance) – and it inspired him to suggest that dogs be used instead of unwieldy valinches for distillery tour tastings. They are used in Warehouse 24 tours to this day.
Aged for 42 years, The Tale of the Dog is described as a smooth and honeyed expression, with toffee flavours, nutty honey spice and a lingering oak finish. The casks chosen come from a time before the industry stopped the practice of ‘dramming’ – workers receiving drams while at work. These casks are among the few that might have been visited by a dog back then.
Gemma Paterson, global ambassador, commented, "This story captivates people across the world whenever our ambassadors share it with them. It's so exciting to be able to share it in the form of a whisky now to celebrate such a heart-warming story and one of our distilleries best-loved characters."
David C. Stewart M.B.E., malt master, added, “The Tale of the Dog is one of the stories people most love hearing about The Balvenie… These two casks, from 1978 and 1974, are wonderful liquids chosen to represent the story.”
Presented with a replica flattened copper dog, the bottle is encased in a wooden tube wrapped in leather and printed with an illustration by British artist and printmaker Andy Lovell, capturing the evocative light and atmosphere of the distillery’s landscape.
Drinkers can hear the story of The Tale of the Dog via a specially recorded podcast series featuring the craftspeople behind the expression, as well as ambassador Paterson. The podcast is available on Spotify and iTunes, and drinkers can access it via a QR code tag inside the pack.
With a limited release of just ten unique bottles, The Tale of the Dog (47% ABV) will be available through a ballot system from select retailers including Clink, Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop for RRP £9,000.