My ears were ringing!
A few thoughts??? LOL. This is the beer that blew me away in 1969, and I've been chasing after it since I started brewing just a few short years later.
As far as the new version goes...it's a good attempt at reviving the original product, and quite fine in its own right...but alas, in the end, it's a miss...but it's still definitely worth seeking out.
I do know that the original version was both dry hopped (with Bullion hops) and dosed (quite generously) with a distilled hop oil which was made at the brewery, and added to the IPA (at bottling). I think you could probably successfully substitute the Bullion with Cascades (they are actually quite different, but the floral quality of the Cascades is quite nice).
However, regular hop extract will not suffice as a substitute...you need a distillate that focuses on capturing the aromatic qualities of the hop, Sourcing that is more difficult, though there is a company in England that produces such a product...and it's quite expensive (so much so that I've yet to try it.)
But I think you're on the right track with the long aging. Historically speaking, that is essential to they stye. At Ballantine/Newark, they had massive tanks, lined with brewer's pitch. The IPA would spend up to a year in there, aging in bulk.
The result was a beer with a "woody" character (which I now know was a characteristic of the hops). That being said, samples tasted 40+ years after the brew was bottled very definitely exhibits that "woody" character.
As far as the recent revival of Ballantine IPA goes, as I said, it is a miss, made without he benefit of a recipe (which was apparently lost with time), however, it is the closest anyone has come to the original (and is every bit as worthwhile as anything made today). Unfortunately, it is not aged for a year...and that was the heart of the original IPA, along with the legendary aroma...which strangely, no modern brewer has been able to replicate.
I eventually settled of the original (including the long aging) since 1980 or so and while it doesn't quite capture the original, it is pretty close. I think it's only failing is the lack of the intense aroma.
Go for it...and discover what age can do for a beer like this (and similarly, for other high strength beers). Just know going in that you'll need to brew it regularly to ensure a good supply!
And make no mistake...that year of bulk aging makes all the difference.
If you have the patience, make an extra strong batch, and after a year blend it (if there's any left) with a new batch, and enjoy the famous "Burton Ale" that they made each year as a gift for V.I.P. customers.