Review: Ballantine’s Aged 17 Years Blended Scotch Whisky

Bal 17 1

This whisky, a perpetual favourite of Jim Murray – winning a place in the top three whiskies in the world in The Whisky Bible pretty well every year, is one I had to try for that reason. Moreover, it is relatively affordable for a 17 year old bottling. Jim Murray’s high accolades initially drew me to the bottling, and I have certainly enjoyed each dram of it. The whisky was first blended in the 1930s, from a careful combination of malt and grain whiskies over scotland. Since then, it’s still on the market and is certainly great whisky.

Nose: bits of vanilla, oak, a touch of bourbon, cantaloupe, there is some brilliant peat smoke in the background as well which is very well integrated. there’s some nice vanilla and caramel too. fruitiness is on the nose in the form of green apple peel and pears – the fruit is very lively in the nose. Gooseberries too! Grainy on the nose…….this changes and develops as you spend time with it, and different flavours come out consistently! complex, and a bit coy – you do need to spend your time with it. 27.5/30 (92%)

Taste: it’s light, with apples, and some light brown sugar.  it’s fairly sweet, and the spices pick up as more is drunk. The fruitiness seems so light, as if it just makes the flavour lighter and more fluffy in their effect. It’s wonderfully light and sweet. There’s a touch of molasses as well, and gooseberries once again. There are a ton of flavours in this, and yet they are not in conflict with one another. It’s very light…a bit like the angel cake of whiskies. It’s not that way because it is lacking in flavour, but somehow, it is crafted to be wonderfully light. There is light maltiness as well, but it, like all other things, is not dominant. Very pleasant. Nice little dash of smoke in there as well! It comes out more and more. There are some oak spices on the end, and the end of the taste is lightly fruity and has rum-like notes to it. 27.5/30 (92%)

Finish: Develops from some spice to some oak and then malt and peat, which takes some time to appear. Again the fruitiness is there and lifts up the flavour quite well in combination with the light vanilla, custard, white rye bread and coconut. The vanilla seems to develop wonderfully as you drink it. The oak comes in as well, yet it’s still light and very much in the background. Quite grainy – it even tastes a bit wheaty! Some nice sweetness in the finish, along with some tannins…. Mouth filling, and thick, but a bit light and could last a bit longer. 17.5/20 (88%)

Conclusion: It’s beautifully light, and yet full of flavour and subtlety. It feels a relaxing and comforting dram. Take your time with this one, as it greatly rewards patience. Some whiskies, as I retaste them, I like less and less, and some more and more – like this one. A beautiful adventure of discovery Bal 17 3because of its complexity and wonderfully hidden flavours and scents. It’s very light, and if you’re drinking this one quickly you might not be awed. However, if you take your time with this….you’ll have lots to discover. The balance is pretty amazing – to have a whisky which is so light, and yet has so much going on without one part dominating too much – it’s a very impressive creation. 19/20 (95%)

Overall: 91.5/100

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One thought on “Review: Ballantine’s Aged 17 Years Blended Scotch Whisky

  1. Pingback: Whisky for Christmas | Whisky Won

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