Ballantine’s is one of the third most sold Scotch whiskies, among Johnnie Walker Red Label and Grant’s Family Reserve. It’s available on every store and mostly also on different bottle sizes. Ballantine’s is worldwide 2nd most sold whisky but in Europe it’s the first. The Sales volume is enormous, 200.000 bottles on every day of the year.
George Ballantine is the man who is behind the product and has also given a name also on it. He established a food store in 1827 and it was also put on the foundation year of the whisky, even though George only sold whiskies from other producers in the first 3 decades. It was not until 1865 that he began selling his own blended whisky, when he opened a new store at Glasgow. The sales number of his own blended whisky was increasing rapidly and his sons later continued producing and selling it and also exporting to other countries.
Ballantine’s Finest trademark was founded in 1910 and the recipe has been tried to keep the same from these days. Ballantine’s family sold the trademark after the 2nd world war to a Canadian company. After that, it was sold a few times ahead until Pernod Ricard bought it in 2005. Ballantine’s Finest is a blend of over 50 single malt and 4 grain whiskies. The price for a 50cl bottle is around 9.50€ in Estonia.
Well balanced, light, average, dull. Nose is thin and light, some fruits, lightly oaky, honey and a hint of vanilla. Taste is smooth, light and young. Fruits (apple and banana), some peanuts, hints of oak and peat. Aftertaste is short and sweet. There’s nothing which disturbs, Ballantine’s is very easy drinking whisky. No need to dilute it with water or add ice cubes to glass, it’s smooth enough and light on its own. It’s a beginner whisky, the taste is very approachable. For cocktails it is quite light, it doesn’t give so much kick and whisky aroma. So it suits those who do not enjoy the taste of alcohol in their own drinks. Overall it’s done very nicely, but on the other hand, it’s mass produced and very basic and average Scotch whisky.