This whisky was another weeknight surprise session on the same night I tasted Glendronach 8
A few weeks back I got a taste of Ballantyne's 17 & it was a pretty great dram (I didn't take any notes). I was not expecting the maturity and presence that whisky had, there was a well balanced, fruity and herbal side and a well integrated peat/smoke glow. Very old school made me think of gentlemen's clubs, leather arm chairs, harris tweed blazers and a fireplace...ok maybe some cigars.
This bottling seems to have a completely different lineage and I believe it is more based on american oak barrels from what I can gather and the color (but who knows as these blenders love their E150).
Nose: Lemon meringue pie, Werther's originals, nutty vanilla and lemongrass. It has a nice malty presence, no intense grain notes like some blends
Palate: The taste flips from fruity to toffee and then from lemon to slight peat edge. Shortbread, five-alive citrus. Dried ginger, slightly herbal (Ricola), the toffee doesn't linger. There is a nice smoky/peaty touch (so slight but it's there)
The finish is brief, creamy a bit, the texture was fairly coating in the glass for a blend. With a higher ABV this would sing. A well balance blended Scotch, the slight smokey touch and light herbal side is the only thing in common with the 17 I would say.
I like this blend, very drinkable and priced a bit cheaper than JW black in my neck of the woods (which is one of my favourite blends). Not sure I would keep one of these around but it's a nice change of pace.
@Jules I hear you, it doesn't help that there are so many dull or uninspired blends. I tend to judge blends a little differently in that regard. I don't look for the same singular flavors or eureka moment than in drinking single malts.
I believe if they upped the ABV and we're a bit more daring it would really help their cause. A good example is Cutty Sark Prohibition or some of the Compass Box stuff.
Yes, most blends just don't 'jump out' enough, too little character for me. I want something memorable when I sit down withmy evening dram, and Blends just don't give me that. Compass Box might be the exception although I have never bought, just tasted. Their latest Flaming Heart is prob the best blend I have come across, but then they use only single malts... ie. no grain whiskey mixed in.