Ballantine's Finest 2015 Review

“My Funny Ballantine”

Country: Scotland
Brand: Ballantine’s Finest
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol: 40%

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Young, Light and Thin. A little Sweet Fruit like Red Apples or Peach. I also find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, light Honey, Toffee, Caramel, Butterscotch, light Citrus Peel, some Dried Fruits and Nuts, Floral notes like Heather, Grass and Straw and a faint hint of Smoke. The Alcohol is not integrated and stings every once in a while. I nosed this in 2011 as well and I must confess I like it a little better this time.  

Taste: Thin and Watery Delivery with Toasted Cereals, Charred Refill Oak, light Vanilla, Sugar, Toffee, Butterscotch, Grass, Straw, Apple, Licorice and Pepper.

Finish: Short and Sugary Sweet with Toffee, Caramel, Butterscotch, Pop Corn, Nuts, light Vanilla, Grass, Charred Oak, Licorice and Pepper.

Rating: 74.5 

Nose: 19.5 – Taste: 18.5 – Finish: 18 – Overall: 18.5


General Remarks: This Blended Whisky was created in 1910 by the Ballantine's Family. Miltonduff and Glenburgie are the main Single Malts in this blend but there are said to be around 50 Whiskies in all present here, including 4 Grain Whiskies. It's one of the best selling Blends in the world. It's quite cheap at around 30 US Dollars (July 2015).

No need to add Water to this Blend. It's already Thin enough as it comes.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay

Conclusion: This Blend gets some fine reviews from people like Jim Murray and I still fail to see why. I must admit that I liked it a bit better now than back in 2011. Maybe my Palate has developed or the Blend changed a bit over the years. Or both. I got a light Smoky note on the Nose that wasn't there in 2011. Or at least I did not notice it at that time. My final score is slightly higher than it was in 2011. The Nose is okay for a Blend in this class but Palate and Finish are quite Thin, Watery and Boring. Even on the rocks I wasn't too impressed with this Blend. I found the Sugar and Licorice rather annoying. So what can I say? At 30 US Dollars a bottle you can not expect to enter into the Whisky Heaven. As indeed you don't with Ballantine's Finest!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       July 15, 2015


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