This 17 Year Old whisky is no stranger to gold, back in 2010, 2011 and yet again in 2019, this expression has been bestowed several awards, testament to its consistency and unfailing quality. The brand as was with several others during the time was born out of a grocery store, this one at George Ballantine’s, supplying spirits to his customers. From there on the brand grew further and far, becoming Europe’s whisky of choice and even gracing the spot for the second most widely consumed spirits more than once.
The core malts come from the Glenburgie, Glentauchers and Miltonduff distilleries which are then blended with a host of grain whiskies, each aged for a minimum of 17 years. The blend is bottled in a very ‘un-ballantine’ packaging, exuberating more class than most of its other blended brethren, straying away from the rather rectangular bottling which in no way would have you raise an eyebrow. With blends consisting several from the speyside and matured in american and european oak, I’m hoping to expect this 1930s blend will bring a bounty of flavours.
Eye: Amber to deep gold (Caramel coloured, Chill filtered)
Nose: Brown sugar, honey with traces of grain; quite woody with smoke infused with herbal and earthy undertones. Tarty pineapples and lemon zest are complimented by bananas and grapes, finally trailed by green pepper.
Taste: Crisp and light with a mild nuttiness and a swirl of vanilla and cream. There’s fruity banana cake accompanied by fresh wood and spice; a whiff of smoke and pepper hovering in and about.
Finish : Medium – Honey sweetness with a mild spicy burn
The Ballantine is heavier on the nose, with the winey, sweeter profile being balanced by the peat. The peat isn’t punchy but does present itself quite nicely with an earthy tenderness while the variations in floral nuances and brown sugar sweetness is welcoming with an almost subtle rum n’ raisin chocolate fudge scent. On the palate, the spirit is refreshing and young at first, very unorthodox if you were to simply go by its age. But as you swirl it around you begin to get a sense of maturity.
The whisky is not overly complex, emphasizing on a very moderate breadth. It’s not a ‘hit the ball out of the park’ whisky, but scrapes easily through; there are younger blends (and some of a similar age) that can give this whisky a run for its money. A lovely whisky if it were not for its age, which to me should ideally have delivered more.