Best of the Best 2012: Spirits: The Balvenie 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Batch Two

  • Richard Carleton Hacker

The Speyside Distillery owned by William Grant & Sons has released the second version of an incredible single malt: The Balvenie 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Batch Two (www.thebalvenie.com, $3,999). (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.) 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. These trophies are worth the search, as the Balvenie’s malt master, David Stewart, achieved in this spirit a gently refined complexity by combining the contents of three American-oak refill hogsheads and three European-oak sherry butts. Although it is not as heavily sherried as Batch One, the sherry-like characteristics of this 97-proof whisky still predominate—though only slightly—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.

Read Next Article >>
Photo by Paul Dimalanta
At the Judgment of Paris in 1976, a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena...
As prices for rare Cubans rise, it is getting harder to put a match to the most collectible cigars...
Packshot Factory
Back by popular demand, Supernova is one of the most robust single malts ever produced...
After 22 years of aging, the second installment of the 1992 vintage has reached full maturity…
Now in its 15th year, the wine- and food-filled festival has raised more than $123 million for...
Photo by Cordero Studios
The Arturo Fuente 100th Anniversary Destino Siglo ($416–$520; www.cigar​family.com) is aptly...
Earthy mushrooms, both pungent and delicate, will enhance every sip of these Cabernet Sauvignons,...
HIGHLAND PARK DISTILLERY Highland Park is made today with the same enduring belief and integrity,...
Photo by Cordero Studios
For the longest time, most serious wine drinkers adhered to the notion that California wines did...
The vibrant and deep notes of these wonderful white wines and brilliant rosé Champagne marry...