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%.