Maker: Ballentine’s, Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, USA (Pernod-Ricard)
Age: 12 y/o
Michigan state minimum: $30
Appearance: Shiny caramel, thick, widely spread legs
Nose: Wood varnish, honey, vanilla buttercream, old oak.
Palate: Medium bodied and light in flavor. Butterscotch, salted caramel.
Finish: Werther’s Original candy, alcohol, grape soda, puff of smoke.
Parting words: This review was supposed to be a head to head with Ballentine’s Finest, the entry level NAS blend, but I lost my notes to that. As a friend said to me on Twitter, “Jesus saves and so should you.” True words, but MS should also make it so that autosaved versions of one document doesn’t pop up when you open a different document and give you the opportunity to delete the autosaved versions of the one document.
Anyhoo, not much was lost because there isn’t too much going on with Ballentine’s Finest. It’s inoffensive, but $25 should buy you more than that (though the mid-century style bottle is pretty cool). For $5 more, you can buy the 12 y/o Ballentine’s which is better. This is a Speyside-centered blend with sweet malt and sherry as the leading aromas with some oak and smoke thrown in to round it out. It’s mildly interesting and priced in the same neighborhood as its competition like Dewar’s. That whole neighborhood is overpriced, though. Get yourself a 1.75 liter bottle of Grant’s instead. Ballentine’s 12 y/o is mildly recommended.