Even though there has been a lot of controversy about Jim Murray’s “World Whisky of the year” award in the 2011 Whisky Bible, it surely raised some interest for the Ballantine’s 17 Years old. A blended whisky that is better than all those wonderful single malts?
Ballantine’s Finest, the basic version of the range, was not worth writing about when I tried it at a party last year. In the same Whisky Bible, that one picked up the award for best blended Scotch NAS, so let’s hope for a better experience this time.
Ballantine’s 17 yo (43%, OB 2010)
Nose: smooth start with pancake aromas, vanilla and creamy milk chocolate. Soft fruity aromas (lemon / lime), almonds and cinnamon. Hints of smoke. Cedar wood and a touch of leather.
Mouth: honeyed and spicy start, slightly peppery and gingery. Elegant peat smoke again. Oak and toffee notes. Developing on fruit cake. Not complex but well balanced.
Finish: circling around the same core of chocolate, delicate smoke and spices.
Indeed an enjoyable dram and a big step up from Ballantines Finest. It’s still quite a stretch to call this the whisky of the year, but it’s a valid choice if you’re looking for a Christmas present for your dad. Good notes for a blend. € 60 around here.