The Balvenie 40 Year Old – Batch 2
In early 1892 work began to convert an 18th century mansion called Balvenie New House into a distillery. The building took fifteen months to complete and on May 1, 1893 the first distillation took place at the Balvenie Distillery. Today, the distillery is notable in that it grows its own barley, performs traditional floor maltings, and retains on-site coppersmiths to maintain the stills and coopers to repair the barrels. This Speyside Distillery, owned by William Grant & Sons, has released its second version of a truly great single malt: The Balvenie 40 Year Old ($3,999).
The Balvenie’s first 40-year-old was released last year but was not exported to the United States; it was only available at duty-free shops. This time, 50 of only 150 hand-numbered bottles are destined for a few select retail shops in America. We are told these treasures are worth the search, as the Balvenie’s malt master, David Stewart, has achieved a gently refined complexity by combining the contents of three American-oak refill hogsheads and three European-oak sherry butts. They say that although it is not as heavily sherried as Batch One, the sherry-like characteristics of this 97-proof whisky still predominate over the candied smoothness of its delicate essences of violet petals, cedar, and buttered toffee. Each bottle comes in an oak presentation case handmade by Scottish craftsman Sam Chinnery and hand-engraved by his father, John. The family-owned distillery and its malt master have earned our admiration not only for creating such a memorable dram, but also for allowing such valuable inventory to age so gracefully.
So, if we happen to stumble upon a few thousand dollars, you’ll find us spending it on this 40-year-old single malt. And, we’ll surely be pouring it over one of our handcrafted whiskey stones.