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Wednesday nights Tweet Tasting, which was once again ably hosted by Steve from The Whisky Wire, gave us the opportunity to sample one of the worlds powerhouse whisky blends in terms of global sales and awareness.
I’m talking, of course, about Ballantine’s which is the No.1 Scotch whisky in Europe and the No. 2 Scotch whisky in the world with their range selling over 70 million bottles a year worldwide.
Winners of more than 130 trophies and medals at international competitions in the past 10 years, Ballantine’s is known for its outstanding quality, unique richness of character and perfect balance.
The range, from Ballantine’s Finest to the exclusive 40 Year Old, is the most extensive in the world of Scotch and is maintained by Master Blender Sandy Hyslop, continuing the brand’s tradition of Master Blenders that dates back to 1827.
We were particularly honoured to have Sandy tasting along with us tweeters on the night which makes a special event even more special – after all, it’s always great to get the facts straight from the Head Drammers mouth!
Their was a fantastic selection of five whiskies being sampled on the night and they were:-
- Ballantines Finest
- Ballantines 12 Year Old
- Ballantines 17 Year Old
- Ballantines 21 Year Old
- Ballantines 30 Year Old
If you want to catch up on what all the tasters had to say, you can view the tweets by searching for the hash tag #BallantinesTT on Twitter.
So, what did I think?
Here are my tasting notes … and the one which was my favourite on the night!
Tasting Notes – Ballantines Finest ( 40% )
Ballantine’s Finest is the oldest recipe in the current range, created in 1910 by the Ballantine’s family.
There are more than 40 malts & grains in this blend (with particular emphasis on Miltonduff and Glenburgie), carefully selected from 4 different iconic Scottish regions and matured in American Oak Barrels.
Ballantines Finest was Jim Murray’s No Age Statement Blend of the Year with a whopping 96 points!
Nose: Sweet vanilla & toffee – fruity and slightly woody with a bit of yummy spice!
Palate: Sweet fruits & honey with vanilla! Apples and a little grapefruit.
Finish: Warming and spicy with a long caramel backtaste.
Overall: A really nice blended whisky this, made even more remarkable by the retail price – amazing value for money!
Tasting Notes – Ballantines 12 Year Old ( 40% )
Ballantines 12 Year Old has won 26 medals in the world’s top spirits awards over the last 10 years.
The signature malts within the blend are Glenburgie & Miltonduff and the malt and grain whiskies used to create this 12YO are predominantly aged in American oak casks.
Nose: Subtle nose – vanilla & promises of something sweet … maybe icing sugar. Apple and oakyness come thru a little later but you have to be patient!
Palate: Sweet pear and creamy toffee, quite thin and light in the mouth.
Finish: A short finish with a nice spice and vanilla combination going well together.
Overall: Ballantine’s Master Blender Sandy Hyslop said this was his favourite blend of the range and I can see why – fantastic, all round flavours at an incredible price!
Tasting Notes – Ballantines 17 Year Old ( 43% )
This was Jim Murray’s Scotch Blend of the Year for 2010!
Every cask of Ballantine’s 17 is nosed before it’s emptied to be blended. Nothing is left to chance.
Nose: Faintly smokey with a lovely fruit hit!
Palate: Powerfully sweet with hints of stewed fruit – very smooth & luxurious – creamy even.
Finish: Tempered ginger spice, slight tanin – maximum yummy!
Overall: The stronger smoke adds something very special to the 17YO. Coupled with the smooth sweetness and you’ve got a very drinkable dram!
Tasting Notes – Ballantines 21 Year Old ( 40% )
The 21 Year Old has a higher proportion of whiskies matured in European oak casks compared to the rest of the range.
Nose: Rich, with a stronger woodiness to it – sweet n’ fruity with little whiffs of smoke.
Palate: Generous mouth feel, caramelised fruits, salty and a delicate taste of liquorice – lovely!
Finish: Satisfyingly long spicy finish with a gorgeous sweet n’ peppery finale!
Overall: The 21YO is a robust dram that’s got some serious Oomph! Very sure of itself and it has every right to be – it delivers!
Tasting Notes – Ballantines 30 Year Old ( 43% )
The very first batch of the Ballantine’s 30 was sold in 1930, so the stock was first laid down in 1900.
It won a Gold at the International Spirits Challenge and Jim Murray gave it 92 points.
Some of the whiskies are incredibly rare, from distilleries that are no longer in existence, Dalmunach and Dumbarton being two of them.
When asked to sum the 30YO up in five words, Sandy replied: “Fruity. Sweet. Voluptuous. Velvety. Balanced. That’s my taste of Ballantine’s 30yr old.”
He also added that for every Ballantine’s 30 yr old they sell, they lose 2 bottles to the angels. Eeek!
Nose: Fantastic pear – I can almost feel the grainy pear-ness! Mint, vanilla, banana, spice – all sorts of mature goodiness! A little bit of woodyness is in there as well.
Palate: Smooth, so smooth. Lovely sumptuous flavours of apricot & mango! Rich, sherry sweetness.
Finish: Smooth, mature, fruity sweetness and tempered spiciness that goes on and on in a glorious fashion!
Overall: A big hit wth the tweeters on the night and it’s not surprising – this is an exceptional dram that really shows the breadth of maturity that this fine blended whisky range can attain.
My Favourite On The Night
Well that has to be the Ballantines 30 Year Old – a standard defining blended whisky with a superior taste!
I was also well impressed with the 17YO – especially if the wallet is complaining – which it usually is!
Last, but certainly not least, I shall certainly be adding the 12YO to my drinks cabinet – a lovely ‘daily’ dram – and at such a fantastic price point!
And of course, @Ballantines, without whom!
My fellow Tweeters were:-
@TheWhiskyWire @EdinburghWhisky @TheWhiskyBoys @WhiskyWardrobe @Girl_Whisky @DrinksEnthusist @LRWhisky @TonyWTC @Whisky_Magazine @whiskyjunkie @OliverKlimek @champdenwhite @MCRWhiskyClub @Whisky_Belfast @SWWIG @WhiskyCorner @ben_cops @winepaper_fr @Thibaut_Octave @luxsure
Ballantines is available to buy from these Whisky Merchants:-
- The Whisky Exchange
- Master of Malt
- Edencroft Fine Wine & Spirit Specialists
- Abbey Whisky
- Whisky Online
- The Whisky Barrel
- The Green Welly Stop
The Glenlivet, the single malt that started it all, has announced the launch of its new global communications campaign: ‘It All Comes Back To The Original’.
The campaign, which is rolling out around the world, aims to capture and celebrate The Glenlivet’s spirit of originality, communicating its role as a single malt with a style to which others can only aspire and encouraging the same originality from its fans.
Developed to engage directly with discerning men in emerging, developing and mature malt markets, the campaign assets include a film for TV and online usage, print, out of home and digital banners. Following a successful launch in the US last month, spearheaded by the TV Commercial, the campaign is now rolling out globally.
The creative features inspiring words that relate to The Glenlivet’s reputation for setting the quality, craft and style benchmarks of the Speyside region. These words are presented in a bold, confident style and, in each creative, a word with the opposite meaning is then further shown as a shadowed reflection.
Furthermore, the look and feel of the headline words in the print, out of home and banner advertisements are inspired by authentic distillery materials such as copper, oak and steel.
The campaign film is shot with a balance of tradition and heritage with contemporary imagery, and depicts the comparative sets of words against the renowned Speyside landscape and the bustling distillery during the production process, reinforcing the premium and craft credentials of the range.
Nikki Burgess, Global Brand Director for The Glenlivet, said: “2014 has been a landmark year for The Glenlivet – a result of consistent innovation, the buoyant global malt market and our on-going commitment to setting the quality benchmark for Speyside.
“We expect the market’s dynamism to remain and, with this new global advertising campaign, we are confident that we will engage and inspire consumers with the core values of The Glenlivet. In speaking directly to discerning men and conveying The Glenlivet’s crafted quality and originality, we hope to engage with them as they seek to be originals in their own lives too.”
The campaign video can also be seen here.
Discerning drinkers of Edinburgh will have the chance to taste The Hanakotoba Punch, a unique cocktail serve cooked up by Tim Pryde from The Voodoo Rooms, winner of the Maker’s Mark Bartender Trove cocktail competition.
Premium bourbon Maker’s Mark has collaborated with competition winner Tim Pryde to give bourbon fans the chance to experience his creative cocktail The Hanakotoba Punch for two weeks only.
On selected nights between 24th November and 4th December, cocktail lovers will immerse themselves in the world of handcrafted bourbon, Maker’s Mark.
They will be able to discover, nested in a Treasure Trove, all the ingredients that compose the Japanese-inspired serve which is made using Umeshu liqueur and hibiscus blossom cordial. They will also have the opportunity to chat to the experienced bartender and his team, who are renowned for their quirky and inventive mixology skills, and discover more about his inspiration and the story behind the drink.
The Maker’s Mark Bartender Trove, which was launched in 2013, inspired a first-of-its-kind collection of bar wares and prized treasures from across the UK bartending scene. The competition reflected the precise craftsmanship of Maker’s Mark, from the hands-on 19 barrel production process to the inclusion of red winter wheat, which results in a smoother bourbon.
Maxxium UK’s Mixxit Manager, Amanda Humphrey says: “The Maker’s Mark Bartender Trove provided the perfect platform to inspire bartenders to get creative with this iconic and coveted bourbon. The competition challenged them to think on their feet, incorporating unusual and precious ingredients while keeping Maker’s Mark at the heart of their creations and we’re delighted that Bourbon lovers in Edinburgh will be able to discover this unique Bourbon”
In addition, consumers ordering the serve will be invited to tweet a picture of the cocktail using #makersmarktrove to be in with a chance to win an exclusive set of Maker’s Mark gifts.
The Maker’s Mark Treasure Trove cocktail nights will take place on Monday 24 November – Thursday 27 November and Monday 1 December – Thursday 4 December at The Voodoo Rooms, 19a W Register St, Edinburgh EH2 2AA
Royal Salute, the world’s only exclusively prestige Scotch whisky has unveiled a contemporary new look for its 21 Year Old expression reinforcing its position as a modern, luxury product of hand crafted quality.
Royal Salute seeks out the most precious materials to craft its blend – from perfectly matured single malt whiskies to the porcelain flagons in which it is presented. Robust, durable and strong, the opaque body of the flagon acts as a powerful guardian to the precious liquid. Crafted over five days from Cornish clay in Great Britain, Royal Salute’s high quality is further reinforced by the new artistic decoration on its cap that includes a guilloché pattern, while the label emphasises the brand’s legacy, which dates back to 1953 when Royal Salute was launched in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation.
Elaborate engraving of a lion and cannon smoke on the bottle retain Royal Salute’s rich heritage as a powerful and sophisticated prestige Scotch whisky, with the expression being named after the traditional 21 Gun Salute. In 2012, the brand became the first ever to be officially associated with the Royal Gun Salutes at the Tower of London, further celebrating the brand’s celebration of royalty, a tradition that continues today.
Royal Salute 21 Year Old’s new bottle reflects the power and grace of Master Distiller Colin Scott’s craftsmanship. Colin Scott maintains consistent high quality throughout the production process, selecting rare and prized malt and grain whiskies laid down over 21 years ago for the final blend, which he describes as both subtle and strong, like “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”
Global Brand Director for Royal Salute, Neil Macdonald says: “There is a tremendous opportunity for Royal Salute to become a true and legitimate luxury brand. We have powerful credentials with our sumptuous whisky which has always used whiskies aged at least 21 years of age Now the new design complements with a modern look for our iconic 21 Year Old expression that alludes to the power and grace of our range. Royal Salute is steeped in royalty and history and this new contemporary packaging helps us bring the legacy of our crafted whisky to life. We are proud to present a bottle that today’s whisky connoisseurs, collectors and discerning drinkers alike will appreciate.”
Colin Scott, Master Blender for Royal Salute, continues: “21 years is an age necessary to capture the power and grace that defines this unique blend’s style. The new packaging enhances the exclusive Royal Salute experience.”
The new Royal Salute 21 Year Old flagon will remain available in three colours, including sapphire, ruby, and emerald complemented by a matching velvet pouch.
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