Whisky Connosr

Ballantines Finest

Whisky With Odour of Cat

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@KalekasReview by @Kalekas

29th Sep 2010


Ballantines Finest
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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This is not to knock the Bally Finest, just to make you aware of the problems of writing a review with a rather smelly cat perched on my lap. Elvis, named originally because his missing tooth gave him a lip-curl reminiscent of the King, who's now going through his very own fat stage (sequins next?), does like to add his own, unique flavour notes to whatever I'm sampling.

So, evaluating a dram of Ballentine's Finest while attempting to filter out the smell of an over-excited fat cat is not the easiest of tasks, however nihil desperandum.

There's a bit of a fruity ester smell at the outset (not Elvis, I got that particular note from the Bally before fat boy joined me). I'm also getting a bit of smoke, but it's the same glass that held a measure of Laphroaig 10yo not 20 minutes ago, so maybe it's a cuckoo in the glass.

But no, it's there in the taste as well: a very subtle salty, smoky tang which gives this blend a bit of oomph. Next the vanilla kicks in and coats the side of the mouth. Finally, something almost floral at the back of the mouth.

Altogether a nicely complex blend which can be served alongside a well-matured moggie. The smoke complements the strong fishy smell (sardines? pilchards? hake?) and the vanilla stands its ground with that pervasive musky smell ... and I don't want to know where that comes from.

I'll save my good malts for when my cats are out on the razz and sup a damn fine blend like Bally's Finest when they're in a sociable, curl-up-on-the-lap mood. Slainté!

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markjedi1 commented

Nice review, @Kalekas, and I tend to agree. I just tried a Ballentines Finest bottled in 1985 head to head with a version bottled in 2008. Both versions are very similar (the consistency is amazing, kudos to the producers), but the 'old' one scores a touch better on the nose (and a half point on the palate). I was pleasantly surprised with this blend.

13 years ago 0

Kalekas commented

Hi markjedi1; I admire your dedication in sampling two versions of the same whisky separated by almost 25 years! A fascinating idea and, if I could keep a bottle of whisky that long (and live to be 81) I'd love to try something similar. Maybe I should bury a bottle of Ardbeg in the garden for a quarter century - but by then I'll probably be completely gaga and assume I'm trying to grow a whisky tree. I'm now off to check what's in your drinks cabinet, yoinks!

13 years ago 0

LeFrog commented

just bought a bottle of this and looking forward to tucking in tonight

12 years ago 0