Ballantine's Bourbon Finish

”I’m Glad I Reached the Finish”

Whisky Review # 905

Country: Scotland
Brand: Ballantine's Bourbon Finish
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS (Probably 3-5 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Refill Ex-Bourbon casks. Finish: Married in Ex-Bourbon casks.
Chill Filtration: Yes
Average Price: US$ 20-25 (March 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍Okay
Buying Advice: 😑 Mixing/On the Rocks okay. Not good enough for sipping.


Golden Honey (Artificially Colored)


Thin, Young, Soft and Sweet. The Grain Alcohol is quite present. The Bourbon casks make themselves known with lots of Caramel, Toffee and Vanilla. A bit of Fruit and Nuts and that's about it. Not too much going on here. No Off-Notes.

Main Aromas:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Caramel, Gras/Straw, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Sultanas, Nuts, Orange, Sweet Apple, Cinnamon and Pepper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Butterscotch, Bounty Bars, German Butter Biscuits, Lemon, Nectarine, Wood Chips and Smoke from an extremely distant fire.


Young, Soft, Watery Thin and Sugary Sweet. The Grain Alcohol rules despite all the innovative Finish efforts. Flavorwise, it basically follows the Nose.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Straw, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Sweet Apple, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
Heather-Honey, Butterscotch, Bitter Orange, Caffe Latte, Dried Herbs, Wood Chips, Lemon, Licorice, Mint and the afore mentioned Smoke.


Short and Thin. Sugary Sweet at first but with a light Bitterness popping up towards the end. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Butterscotch, Grain Alcohol, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Straw, Candied Orange Peel, Caffe Latte, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Wood Chips, Licorice, Dried Herbs and this far away Smoke.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Ballantine's. It's Thin enough as it is

Rating: 77 

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 18.5 - Overall: 19 

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay/Good


Ballantine's Blended Whisky was created in 1910 by the family of the same name. The main Single malt components are Miltonduff and Glenburgie but it is said that the Blend contains upto 50 different whiskies including four Grain Whiskies. Bourbon Finish was introduced over here in December 2020. In other parts of the world a 7 Year-old Whisky was released under the same name. The whiskies for this Blend mature separately before being married and finished for an unknown period of time in Ex-Bourbon casks. This procedure is quite new in the Blended Whisky segment. 

I like innovative initiatives and I must congratulate Ballantine's on this novelty that's quite common in Single Malt maturation but not so for Blends. Having said that I must also notice that the effect of the, probably short, finish is limited. It takes away a bit of the harshness that I find in Ballantine's Finest. The makers like to think of this expression as a bridge between Whisky and Bourbon fans. That goes a little too far in my opinion. This Ballantine's remains a Refill cask matured Blend that is okay for mixing and over Ice but not interesting enough as a sipping Whisky. It's a Party drink in that sense. And Ballantine's will be fine with that as they are obviously reaching out to a young public with this Bourbon Finish.


Jan van den Ende                                                                          March 1, 2021

No comments: