Whisky-inspired work of art auctioned for RM29k, proceeds go to charity


The Balvenie collaborated with local artist Pamela Tan to create a one-of-a-kind art piece called ‘Flux”, which was auctioned at the event. — Photos: Handout

Scotch single malt The Balvenie recently held a ‘The Makers Dinner’ at Gordon Ramsay Bar And Grill, where it unveiled a work of art created by local artist Pamela Tan, and inspired by The Balvenie Thirty single malt whisky.

The one-of-a-kind art piece called ‘Flux” was auctioned at the event for RM29,000, with all proceeds going to Helping Hands Penan, a non-profit accredited social enterprise dedicated to empowering the indigenous Penan through education and economic initiatives.

The one-of-a-kind art piece called ‘Flux” was auctioned at the event for RM29,000.— Photo: MICHAEL CHEANG/The StarThe one-of-a-kind art piece called ‘Flux” was auctioned at the event for RM29,000.— Photo: MICHAEL CHEANG/The StarTo bring The Balvenie Thirty art piece to life, architect-turned-artist Tan set out narrate the journey of this rare malt – from barley to barrel, where every component from its deep rooted farming traditions to the complex skill sets required by The Balvenie Malt Masters, make the very DNA of The Balvenie Thirty.

“My sculptures are more than art; in creating ‘Flux’ I wanted to honour The Balvenie’s unique multi-generational whisky-making process of combining expertise, skill and ambition through what is known as The Balvenie’s Five Rare Crafts,” said Tan in a press release.

"The makers of The Balvenie have an intimate understanding of their materials. This is why our partnership was a perfect match. Their obsession for creating the best possible whisky by paying attention to every detail matched mine in art and design.

"This art piece is a celebration of the extraordinary craftsmanship that defines The Balvenie. The result, I hope, is a true homage to the artistry that goes behind every drop of The Balvenie Thirty."

Mijung Kim, The Balvenie Brand Ambassador for Korea, conducting the tasting of the Balvenie 30 Year Old.Mijung Kim, The Balvenie Brand Ambassador for Korea, conducting the tasting of the Balvenie 30 Year Old.

Alongside the auction, there was also a dinner prepared by Gordon Ramsay Bar And Grill, with dishes like the signature Beef Wellington paired with core range whiskies like the Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood, 14YO Caribbean Cask, and 16YO French Oak.

Guests at the event also got to try a dram of The Balvenie Thirty in a tasting session conducted by Balvenie Brand Ambassador of Korea, Mijung Kim.

For The Balvenie Thirty, the distillery's Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE married traditional American and European oak casks that have been matured for decades in order to craft a whisky of incredible sweetness and complexity.

Now, prior to the dinner, I had been looking forward to try the Balvenie 30YO all week, which I think is the oldest expression from the distillery I have tried so far (the previous oldest one I tried was the 25YO). And it did not disappoint.

The Balvenie 30 Year Old was quite a dram. — Photo: MICHAEL CHEANG/The StarThe Balvenie 30 Year Old was quite a dram. — Photo: MICHAEL CHEANG/The Star

On the nose, that very distinct honey aroma came out immediately, with lots of candied fruit... but instead of the usual vibrancy you get from the younger expressions of Balvenie, this one was a more elegant, mature kind of sweetness, with a lot more finesse and class from the longer maturation.

That feeling of tasting something, well, older than usual continues onto the palate, where that mellow honey note is accompanied by rich decadent dark fruits and dark chocolate, alongside fruit cake, and a viscous finish of spices, from nutmeg to cinnamon and deep dark fruits.

There’s definitely a sense of "old-ness" in the dram, especially when compared to the 12, 14 and 16 we had later. There is something classic, something incredibly enduring and special about it too. What a dram, and what a treat it was.

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Whisky , The Balvenie

   

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