Been a while since the whisky guy got to review a bottle of the good stuff and while we’ve had a few single malts recently, this week we return to the blended Scotch whisky with a bottle of Ballantine’s 12 year old. I’ll be honest and say that it’s the first time i’ve tasted Ballantine’s and i have no idea why i havn’t had it in the past. Maybe it’s the lack of visible marketing in SA or the fact that most bars push the regular stuff, but i am sufficiently impressed and from now on will definitely be adding it to the list of favourites. If you’ve been following the whisky guy reviews from the start then you will know that i’m not a fan of really complex,intense, smokey whisky I prefer the smoother, easy going, pleasant type stuff and the Ballantine’s 12 year old fits the bill perfectly.
Lovely. The blue and gold colouring definiely adds a royal vintage vibe.
Some history and bar ammo behind Ballantine’s 12 year old.
The heritage of Ballantine’s Scotch whisky can be traced back to 1827, when farmer’s son George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh supplying a range of whiskies to his clientele.In 1865 George delegated the store’s operation to his eldest son, Archibald, while he opened a larger establishment in Glasgow. Here he concentrated on the wine and spirit trade, catering to clients which included the Hindu Royal Family. In 1937 the company received the Grant of Heraldic Arms featured on their bottles, recognising George Ballantine & Son as an “incorporation noble on the Noblesse of Scotland”.
What’s it taste like?
Nose: first pour of the Ballantine’s 12 year old was pleasantly less smokey than i expected with hints of toffee and a spicky kick. Once it settled though and a few drops of water later the fruity aromas emerged along with notes of vanilla and caramel.
Palate: First sip elicits a deceptive smokey oak introduction, but it quickly fades to a smooth and creamier honey taste that becomes more and more evident the longer you keep it on the the palate and the more sips you take. Not overpowering and a tad fruity, but overall very pleasant.
Finish: Nice gentle finish with a touch of smokey aftertaste and you can throw in some nutty flavours as well that linger.
Appearance and price: I have a soft spot for bottles that appear aged and the Ballatine’s font combined with the noble coat of arms gives it a nice vintage appearance. The blue and gold colour combination is also more appealing. Price wise the Ballantine’s 12 year old is listed on Bottleshop.co.za at a very reasonable R269.
Overall score on the Life is Savage Whisky Index: the Ballantine’s 12 year old is one of the better 12 year old blends i’ve had the priviledge of tasting and gets a very respectable 8 out of 10. Was pleasantly surprised and will be making it one of my regulars.
Will be reviewing a locally produced whisky next week along with a giveaway.