David C. Stewart, MBE
As the longest serving Malt Master in the Scotch whisky industry, no one knows whisky like David does. Nosing samples for a balance of notes and consistent character, David decides which casks can be bottled after 12 years, those that will be perfectly finished in oak, or the rare ones that will mature on to become 21, 30 and beyond. Born in Ayr on the west coast of Scotland in 1945, David C. Stewart MBE started work at The Balvenie distillery in 1962 at the age of just 17. During a 12-year apprenticeship, he mastered the complex skills required to create the very finest single malt whisky.
His knowledge and nose give him a sixth sense for how each cask will mature, to the point where he’s able to imagine and formulate each expression of The Balvenie long before it is ready. Training takes up to 12 years – which is why one of the key qualities in an apprentice is patience. And curiosity; even within the time-honoured traditions there's still room to experiment.