The Ballantine’s 40 Year Old is an ultra-premium blended Scotch whisky released in limited editions annually. It is the oldest Ballantine’s expression ever created, and forms a part of the brand’s core range.
Touted as the pinnacle of Ballantine’s rich heritage of creating some stellar blended Scotch whiskies, the 40 Year Old was first launched in 2014. It has since been released in extremely limited quantities each year, making its way to the top of some collectors’ most desired Scotch whiskies.
The Ballantine’s brand was born when George Ballantine Sr. started his own grocery store in Edinburgh in 1827. He traded exclusively in luxury items, including whiskies. Soon, George Sr. took up blending, and began to share his knowledge with his sons, Archibald, Daniel and George II. Although the family had begun to dabble in whisky blending, trading spirits and other alcoholic beverages as they were, formed a larger chunk of the family’s business.
George Ballantine Sr. passed on the reins of the business to his sons, and soon retired in 1881, passing away a decade after his retirement. The family business had already begun to flourish by the time George Sr. retired, and the fruits of their labour were delivered in the form of a Royal Warrant in 1895. The Ballantine’s family business was awarded the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1895, and it is then that things changed for the Ballantine’s brand forever.
In 1910, the highest selling and the most popular Ballantine’s expression, the Finest, was first created by the family. The recipe for the Ballantine’s Finest remains unchanged to this day. It is one of the world’s bestselling Scotch whiskies, even selling more than 200,000 bottles each day at one point.
Over the years, the number of proprietary Ballantine’s blends kept growing. Master Blender George Robertson, who took over the blending duties after George Sr., created two exquisite blends. The Ballantine’s 17 Year Old, and the Ballantine’s 30 Year Old were created after Robertson found himself with large quantities of heavily matured whisky after the end of World War I and Prohibition.
After Robertson retired, Jack Goudy and Robert Hicks took over the mantle of Master Blender respectively. The current Master Blender at Ballantine’s, Sandy Hyslop, and former Master Blender Robert Hicks were both mentored and trained by Jack Goudy himself.
Hyslop is only the fifth ever Master Blender in Ballantine’s 190 year history, and took over the job in 2005. He helped create the Ballantine’s 40 Year Old, the oldest ever Ballantine’s expression.
The Ballantine’s 40 Year Old has been crafted by marrying some of the most excellent vintage whiskies available to Ballantine’s. These whiskies, some belonging to ghost distilleries from Scotland, were carefully blended to create the most deeply satisfying drinking experience.
The whisky is bottled in a special, hand-crafted bottle created by Richard Fox, a renowned British silversmith. With intricately designed embellishments in gold and silver detailing adorning the bottle, and a unique serial number etched into each of them, the Ballantine’s 40 Year Old is a unique collector’s item for all Scotch whisky enthusiasts.
Furthermore, the Ballantine’s 40 Year Old is packaged within a stylish wooden box finished with more silver engraving, and adorned with the Ballantine’s family crest.
The Ballantine’s 40 Year Old is bottled at 43% ABV, slightly higher than the standard limit for Scotch whiskies.
Rich, fruity and very complex. Juicy ripe pears, sweet sugar syrup and delicious fruitcake aromas with just a hint of Christmas spice, and candied ginger.
Well balanced, and layered with decadent flavours of creamy butterscotch toffee and sweet juicy red apples. Incredibly flavourful and quintessentially Ballantine’s.
Long, luscious and deep finish