Almost as Old as They Get – The Balvenie 40

Jonny Cornthwaite In action

Jonny Cornthwaite In action

Israel is usually far off the beaten path for brand ambassadors, and the arrival of one is a great reason for a get-together.

So when Balvenie ambassador Jonny Cornthwaite came to Israel to lead a tasting for local importer HaKerem, Israel’s whisky bloggers (all three of us: Yoav of Whisky Gospel, Gal of Whisky Israel and yours truly) had a chance for a small sit down with him after the beautiful tasting he led with Balvenie new make and a run through the core expressions (sans the Caribbean Cask) with the Peated Cask, which I have tasted earlier, closing out the 12-17-21 triple punch. The tasting was mainly for bar owners and mixologists, so it was good to hear about Balvenie’s take on the whisky making process from scratch with Balvenie’s strong emphasis on tradition.

In his bag of goodies, Jonny had Some of the excellent 25 year old grain whisky from Girven, the Kininvie 23 and then he pulled out the crown jewel – the Balvenie 40.

The 40 is a mix of sherry butts and ex bourbon hogsheads, hand selected by David Stewart and released by batches. You don’t really need me to tell you that this dram is divine, right?

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Balvenie 40 Years Old (48.5% ABV)

Appearance: Copper, thin and long legs with residue on glass.

Nose: Confectionery notes, old dried fruit, furniture polish (not in a bad way), old sherry, toasted coconut, notes of cotton candy, oranges and kirsch liqueur. I could smell this thing for hours on end…

Palate: Old dusty library, old leather, sweetness on the center of the tongue, dried orange peel, spices. The whisky is mouth drying and full.

Linger: Long spice in the back of the throat, orange sweetness, dryness and tartness with tannins. Lovely finish that goes on and on.


This sherry/bourbon cask combination is amazing. The Balvenie character shines through the four decades beautifully and the balance on this whisky is just extraordinary!

This is one outstanding dram…

The Balvenie 40 was tasted at a trade tasting at which I was a guest of HaKerem, Wm. Grant’s importer in Israel.

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