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Ballantines 17 Year Old

Average score from 11 reviews and 40 ratings 85

Ballantines 17 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Ballantines
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 17 year old

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Ballantines 17 Year Old

Some say the art of blending achieves the pinnacle of whisky perfection. Others say it's the single malt. I don't know who's right, but IMHO Ballantine's 17 is one of my favourite blends for my palate.

The nose is always a delight. Citrusy lemon is always the starting point, pear drops, floral, creamy caramel, stem ginger, honey, slight volcanic rock and then that smoky slightly tarry peat. Clean cut glass grain and fruit. Some tinned fruit too. It's exactly what a perfect blend should be. Reasonably complex with multiple flavour profiles, and yet harmonious. In the glass the lemon fades out a bit and the peat takes a little more control.

On the taste it's got a little burn of alcohol, then mineraly, smokey peat, citrusy, honey, maybe little grapefruit peel, lime peel, pear drop sweets, stem ginger, little tinned fruit. Some of that creaminess but caramel has taken a back seat.

Finish: slight tarry peat, citrus, stem ginger and volcanic rock.

from your notes this has many of the attributes I like in a variety of single malts Ballantines may have to go onto Xmas wish list. The only blend I would regularly buy at the minute is Hibiki 12 but lemon, peat, tar and rock sounds like something I could get onboard with.

Thanks for the review.

@MuddyFunster, nice review I think it's pretty spot on. This is an elegant and complex whisky, lends itself to taking your time, otherwise you will miss all the slowly developing interplay between the fruits, herbal/grassy side and then the subtle touch of smoke.

The 43% version is much better than the 40%.


This bottle has been opened for over 7 months. I bought it because I wanted a whisky to drink in the summer and it was highly rated, named whisky of the year by Jim Murray. Although many people didn't agree with him on this, but since it's affordable to me, I still gave it a try. At first I was rather disappointed because it was light and watery, so I put it in the closet for a long time, but now it's all different.

Nose: Light and sweet. Lemon, citrus, fruit candy, honey, vanilla and mint. Taste: Medium body. Sweet light sherry, very Speyside, with some kick of peat in the end. Crisp at first, then become oily and spicy. Honey tea, oak, pear, and orange blossom. Finish: Warm and lingering taste of malt, honey and fruits mixed together then fade into spices, woods and smoke. Balance: Very smooth and harmonious, the sweet notes leads to the warm finish, like a symphony of Vivaldi or a painting of Claude Monet.

I can understand why many people do not appreciate this whisky. It doesn't have big flavors and it's all sweetness inside. After sipping for a while, I figure out it's a delicate and welcoming whisky, still this doesn't make an extremely high score in my mind. I find some sparks and twists of fine old whisky inside but sadly it doesn't last long, lacking some strength to go further in order to reach the promised land.

A good and finely crafted whisky overall, probably not as good as what Jim Murray said, but it's solid and easy to drink while maintaining good complexity. The new version of Ballantine's 17 years old Blended Scotch Whisky is 40% ABV, so anyone who is interested in buying a bottle had better hurry to find a 43% version before it's all gone.

Great review - thank you.

After your tip off on the 43% being replaced by the 40%, I had a look in the liquor store today and discovered just that. 2 x ABV 43% on the shelf, the rest 40%. I bought a 43%, I've been putting it off for too long, and no way I'd buy the 40% to try this blend

Yap. I'm not likely to go for the 40% version either. Normally I am a single malt guy, I will probably pick up JW Green over the new 40% version Ballantines 17 if I want a good blend.


Very nice, light, some citrus in there. Not worth the current price, but a decent drink. Nothing that will lure me away from single malt.


Okay, let me start by saying that this is quite old stuff. It was bottled in 1972 and is minimum 17 years old, so this golden auldie contains whisky distilled in the Fifties of last century. Liquid history, so to speak. They don't make 'm like this no more. Let us try it at once.

The nose is quite expressive on all kinds of fruit, mostly citrus, with hints of leather and white chocolate. It has a nice aroma of nuts. Think hazelnuts and almonds. A touch of silver polish. A delicate trace of smoke develops that really excites. Halfway through some grain cookies with caramel join. Or is that the batter of pancakes? Anyway, a very pleasant nose indeed.

It arrives very soft and creamy on the palate, on honey and toffee. Immediately a burst of alcohol follows and something that reminds me of OBE (well, it is an old bottle). The peat is now unmistakable and gives it a grand smokiness that I truly enjoy. Spices on duty are ginger and pepper, but also some licquorice. The fruit evolves towards the candied kind. Some cake.

The medium long finish allows the smoke and spices more time in the spotlight and ends with a reprise of the white chocolate at the death.

Indeed, they do not make them like this no more. More complex than current versions and very quaffable. Thanks, Jeroen!


I received this as a valentines day gift from my lovely wife. She got it because it was Ballantine's for her valentine (very cute) but enough about romance, this is a whisky review after all.. This is a whisky I had seen and heard a lot about, obviously Jim Murray is a fan and gave it a very high score, whisky of the year I believe! Does is deserve the praise it received? I think I probably does, it is a smooth, complex well aged blend with a long finish. On the nose you are greeted with lemony citrus, sweet vanilla, honey, malt and slight caramel, it almost smells like a desert smorgasbord. Taking a sip you are greeted with a creamy almost oily texture. There are hints of sweetness on the palate with honey and chocolate but it is subtle and quickly dissipates to strong malt flavours, hints of oak, and an interesting citrusy bitterness. This is followed by a lengthy finish. This is a beautiful whisky and i'm not sure that my review does it justice. I am sure of however that this is a whisky all the connosr members most definitely should try!


Nose: Malty and creamy with some polished wood, vanilla and some lemon. Doesn’t seem very young, but not old as well.

Palate: Spicy to begin with as in ginger and peppery which turns into a malty delight. Biscuit-y. With malty sugars and semi sweet chocolate.

Finish : Getting dry, and some fruit and malt remains.

This is a lovely piece of blending, but It’s not THAT good as one Jim Murray would have you believe. No way i can understand how this whisky can be chosen for best whisky for the year of 2011. It’s simply not excellent, and among the amazing array of whiskies out there, it just is a good whisky, without distinction. Not a bad price but you can do much better at almost 50 quid. If someone can explain this choice (other than commercial reasons) i will be eternally thankful. anyone? Jim?

I often disagree with Murray - but on this one, I totally understood. I love this whisky, to my mind it is one of the best Scotches out there, period. And that it's less than $100 in Ontario makes me very happy!

i havent tried this yet - was considering. but could you recommend any better alternatives for this price? thanks.


This is one of the most hyped blends out there for those of you who are disciples of Mr. Murray's whisky bible. And that's not a knock, there's a good reason for that. But, as any good whisky drinker knows, taste is subjective and we must try everything for ourselves. With that in mind, here's my take on the ol' 17.

To put it colorfully, this dram reminds me of a scene on a farm on a lazy July afternoon. There's wheat blowing about in the breeze, sun-baked grass under your feet, a flower garden to your right, a fruit garden to your left, and a rustic farmhouse behind you, where a plate of freshly baked pancakes drenched in butter and honey await you upon a windowsill.

Ok, now that that's out of my system... here's the breakdown for those of you who aren't here to indulge my inner poet.

Nose: Vanilla pudding, honey, lemongrass, butter, grain, cereal, apples, lemons, pears, lavender, and pastry. Complex and rich, yet somehow still light and summery.

Palate: It gets somewhat heftier and less subdued once sipped. A creamy mouthfeel transitions us into a confident woody, peaty presentation. There's some citrus tang, some milk chocolate sweetness, some spicy complexity, and some rich fresh tobacco notes.

Finish: Vanilla, apples, pears, honey, freshly chopped oak, and gentle spices work in tandem to relax the tongue and throat.

When I first bought this I was suspicious about how great this was, having already tried Ballentine's Finest (which is a good budget blend, but nothing great). But this is worlds away. It's very complex in a subtle way. It's both delicate and confident. There's something homely, rustic, and soothing about this dram. It has a very unassuming and simplistic beauty.

I'm a city boy, but this whisky somehow transported me to the farm I so pretentiously described a moment ago. And trust me, anything that can conjure such fanciful imagery from a dope like me is well worth your while.

Nice review. I'm sipping a bit of this looking out on a lake. For me the first sip is --- well ok. Then it grows and some of the subtle stuff comes along. Smooth and easy but with a bit of earth, grain, very pleasant.

Out on the farm? When I sip Ballantine's 17 yo I am in a Parisian salon with Eugene Delacroix sipping brandy and listening to a chanteuse.

Nice review. Great whisky.


At first I was a little daunted with writing a review of Jim Murray's Whisky of the Year 2011 but then I said to my self 'Bah! Who cares what Jim thinks!'

Let me tell you what I think.

This is truly an absolutely brilliant blended whisky. It's strength lies in delivering every single element in subtlety and perfect harmony.

The nose is like digging through a multi-layered dessert using a big fat silver spoon. The first layer is honey and a beautiful pudding. Dig deeper and you will find a thin layer of butterscotch and vanilla on top of which are thin slices of juicy, moist pears. (I'm drooling just writing this!). The base of the dessert is made up of delicate bran crumble pastry sprayed with just the slightest hints of something floral. One of the sweetest, most delicate noses you will find.

The palate is a full bodied, slightly oily, silken affair with your taste buds. As the first, more prominent, sweeter profiles start to fade there comes a mysterious complexity about this blend. The tiniest wisp of chocolatey smoke coupled with an elegant woody grace make this one of the most astonishing of spirit deliveries. The gentle spices and that gorgeous, but minuscule, after taste of a Cuban cigar box wrap up, what has to be in my books, the Whisky of the Year.

What? Jim already said that? Bah! Who cares what he thinks!

Thank you for your kind words! For more of my reviews please check out maltactivist.com -- and let me know what you think!



I was going to save this for New Year's, but fuck it - I had to try it as soon as I got home (New Year's will be champagne, let's face it). This whisky is absolutely luxurious, and possibly the best blend I've ever had. Light honey amber colour, coats the glass nicely when you swirl. A lot in the nose: floral and citrusy, nutty and some peatiness in the background. Creamy mouthfeel, with more peat and hay, resulting in a warming yet dry medium-to-long finish. But wait! Add a little water - and wow. More malt on the nose but then the taste brings out more creaminess, vanilla and smoke, with a little maple there as well. Tangerine is added to the finish. This is the highlight of my day, and it pains me to put this back in the cabinet to save for another day.


A good whiskey

I hunted everywhere in Vancouver for this. None of the government liquor stores carry it. Finally, I found a few bottles at a new private liquor store here called Legacy. For any Vancouverites here, it is located at the Olympic Village, on Manitoba street. Best private liquor store I have seen in Vancouver. Very friendly and knowlegable staff, and many bottles I could not find elsewhere. They only got one case of 6 Ballantine's 17 year, so finally I get to try it. Very smooth, and I love the thick, syrupy body of this. It has a wonderful flavour is all I can say, I am just not very good at describing various flavours. It really is a marvellous whisky, and I am so very glad I finally had the chance to get a bottle. May be my first and last! Cheers, Carl


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: American pancakes covered in maple syrup and honeycomb, with some gooseberries and rhubarb on the side. After scoffing that down why not wipe your mouth with a lemon-scented luxury leather napkin. Quite some breakfast. 2.5

Taste: Light honeycomb and elderflower, mixed in with spicy ginger and bitter dark chocolate. The perfect softly-smoky smoothie to go along with the pancakes. 2.0

Finish: Bitter chocolate once more, with wooden vanillas and chili plums, nestled gently on a bed of honey-smoke. Quite brief, but perfectly balanced. 2.0

Balance: Now I’m a confessed groupie of the Ballantine’s brand, and when Jim Murray awarded the Ballantine’s 17 his Whisky of The Year award for 2011, I was both pleased and surprised in equal measure. I was pleased as it was a great advert for Ballantine’s and Scotch Blends in general, and a testament to what blends can achieve under the shadow the mighty Single Malts. However I was equally surprised as, in my opinion, it is quite a stretch to argue that this is the finest dram out there, especially when I feel that even within the Ballantine’s range itself, I would actually rate the Ballantine’s Finest higher. As always however one must attempt to put context to the side, and on its own merits this is without question a beautifully smooth and characterful blend. And on a further side-note, Whisky Of The Year perhaps not, however Whisky Label-Design of The Year most certainly. A beautiful bottle in every sense. 2.0

Great review @OJK I'm even more enticed now...

Many thanks @Jean-Luc! And thank you as well for cleaning up the link to the Ballantine's Finest review, looking much tidier!

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