Tag Archives: Ballantine

Ballantine’s 17-year-old

Bought: Waitrose, 14th June 2016

Ratings:
97.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
89/100 – Ralfy (www.ralfy.com – his video review below)
83.24/100 – Whiskybase (from 72 member votes)

97.5/100 in the Whisky Bible is as high as it gets from the author Jim Murray. No other whisky, be it a blend, single malt, vatted malt, single grain or bourbon scores higher. This sounds fantastic until you realise that Mr Murray’s review of the Ballantine’s 17yo is at least 6 years old. The score of 97.5/100 has been kicking around in the Bible for quite a while so you have to think the blend has changed a bit over the years. Back in 2009 the Bible had the Ballantine’s 17yo scoring 90.5/100, which is still an excellent score. It may or may not be the best blend in the world but whatever is in my 2016 bottle is still going to be excellent stuff.

Ralfy’s video review is also quite old (2010) but certainly worth watching. Over 83/100 on Whiskybase is a better than average mark. Saying that, one voter that scores the Ballantine’s 83/100 comments “a premium blend, but a bit bland.” And another voter within the last year remarks, “it’s a nice blend but it’s a bit dull, monotonous whisky taste”. Oh dear.

Finding recent reviews of the Ballantine’s 17yo is hard so I turned to Amazon where it scores 4.5/5 stars from 13 reviews. Comments made in 2016 include “as good as a single malt”, “this is the best blend I’ve ever tasted, a must have for blend lovers” and “superbly smooth, almost too smooth. Real mouthful with no kick”.

I’m much more of a single malt drinker so when I finally crack open this bottle of Ballantine’s 17yo I want it to be after I’ve tried a wide variety of blends. It wouldn’t seem fair to judge it based on my current limited knowledge, especially if this is as good as blends get.

Here’s Ralfy with his review on You Tube (December 2010):

Ballantine's 17yo 70cl

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Glenburgie 10-year-old

Bought – Whisky Galore, 25th November 2013

Ratings:
77/100 – Whisky Bible 2006
74/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 7 reviewers)

I had to go back to 2006 to find a review in the Whisky Bible of this Gordon & MacPhail bottling of Glenburgie. It first appeared in 2004 so it was still quite new by 2006. When I checked my 2009 bible it was gone and by 2013 it was old news. Even when it gets a mention in 2006 it’s very short – “Chewy, with curious coal-smoke weight”. That’s hardly going to make you want to rush out and buy it!

Clearly I didn’t get this whisky because of its reviews but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion I’m going to like it. I’m definitely a Speyside fan, with leanings towards the unpeated, and fruity, which is exactly the house style of Glenburgie distillery.

When I do finally take a sip of this 10yo I’ll be comparing it to the Ballantine ‘Finest’ I bought back in August because the Glenburgie malt is used as part of the blend. Will I be able to spot it in the Ballantine? It will be interesting to see.

Glenburgie 10yo 35cl

Ballantine ‘Finest’

Bought – Sainsbury, 5th August 2013

Ratings:
96/100 – Whisky Bible 2013

Ballantine's Finest 70cl