Ballantine’s is today owned by Pernod Ricard but it was first established in 1827 by George Ballantine.
He started selling Whisky from his grocery store in Edinburgh, which was not uncommon in those days.
The Whisky grew in popularity over the ensuing decades, and George passed it on to his eldest soon Archibald in 1865. This allowed George to go to Glasgow, where he opened up a bigger store, specialising in selling wine and spirits.
His own blend really took off, and he even had the Hindu Royal Family as customers.
Later, in 1895, Britain’s own Royal Family awarded the blend the Royal Warrant, a pretty exclusive and prestigious accolade.
The brand continued to grow under George Jr. and eventually became one of the biggest selling in Europe, and second in the world.
Part of their core range, the Ballantine’s 21 Year Old is a shining example of just what they can do with their blend.
Matured mostly in European oak casks, this blend has a rich and elegant flavour profile, with lots of complexity.
It begins with a fruity nose, with oranges, apples, peaches and apricots, all with a fresh, juicy flavour.
There is an exotic spiciness of cardamom and a hint of turmeric, giving it a nice heat and really bringing out the sweeter, tangier notes of the fruit.
It has a soft hint of charred oak and little bit of smoke.
The palate is deep and earthy, with summer berries and acacia honey. The mouth feel is soft and smooth, with an easy-going texture.
Liquorice and more spices also appear, further adding to the spicy notes. It also has a gentle nutty flavour, with lots of sweetness to add a bit of depth.
The finish is bold and sweet, with a lasting waft of smoke and a handful of chewy fruit flavours.
This is a great malt from a fantastic brand, definitely one to try if you haven’t already!