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I have tasted old Ballantines Finest before. Earlier this year I placed a 1985 against a 2008 bottle. Both were good. Today, I’m trying an even older bottling. This Ballentines Finest comes from a bottle of 1965! It was bottled at 43% ABV (the previous ones I tasted at 40% ABV).
The nose offers young apples, vanilla, heather and quite a bit of smoke. I presume there’s a little more Laphroaig in here than in more recent versions. Very pleasant.
Wow, even after all these years in the bottle, this is still a powerful whisky. Nice peppery attack. Vanilla and apples return with fresh flowers and quite smokey. Nicely balanced with sweetness on the one hand and a salty tang on the other.
The finish isn’t particularly long, with a salt ending.
This truly is a golden oldie, but more recent bottles are also worthy. It would seem the whole Ballantines range is not half bad.