Whiskey Guide: Ballantine’s is worth the risk

Whiskey Guide: Ballantine's is worth the risk
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On the surface, Ballantines looks like a drink that lacks character.  In its definitive square bottle which might come in a metal gift box depending on what side of town you bought it, it’s very easy to dismiss it…

Especially since the price point is slightly closer to premium than it is to bottom shelf. 

I got a bottle for my birthday.  Yes, I celebrate those,  still.  Part of the sell was that I’d get a pair of headphones too.  A pathetic set, full plastic, poor quality audio and brandishing a “made in China” label like it is something to be proud of.  I might never use those again.

Back to the whiskey. Gone are the days I’d perch myself on a high stool and enjoy a glass or two alone.  Especially not on my birthday so I saved this bottle for a few days later. A day when I had company. Plus, the true mark of a good whiskey lies in its ability to impress friends. You want them to ask where you bought it,  at how much and let them admire your good taste. 

First things first,  Ballantine’s is a blended scotch.  Many whiskey heads out there will swear by their single malts. The ones that come in curved bottles and expensive price tags.  They will hold up their noses in the air and act like blended scotch is devil pee. But when you open a Ballantine’s a nice wind of spices hits your nose. It doesn’t sting. Instead, it invites you to take a sip. That oh so good first sip. And there’s nothing like trying a whiskey,  it’s always a risky affair.  Like having sex with someone new for the first time,  I’m not sure whiskeys suffer performance anxiety though but as the taster, you pray to the gods that you aren’t disappointed. 

Ballantines doesn’t.

On the tongue,  it sits politely.  The spiciness is more pronounced and you can feel distant smokiness. Going down it doesn’t burn. You won’t have to cringe and close your eyes. Then it has this character that makes it announce itself.  My company was impressed with it.  Although he desecrated it by adding a soda. Truthfully whisky should be over ice or with water.  If you feel the urge to chase it then try vodkas and gin.   

Over ice, the taste is a little subdued. Which is a good thing especially if whiskey overwhelms you.  I tried adding a little sprite to it as well.  It didn’t go quite as well.  Maybe it was the lemon in the sprite or the sugar.  It just didn’t work and I hate when my whiskey doesn’t work. So I stuck to the ice long enough to see the end of the bottle. 

My advice is don’t do the same.  Whiskey should be enjoyed and shouldn’t get you knackered.  But if you’re the kind to not go slow,  you’ll be pleased to know that the morning after it has zero hangovers. You can pop a bottle on a Sunday afternoon and pop into work Monday morning bright as a cherry.

So if you’re looking for a nice blended scotch to enjoy,  don’t skip this one.  It might not be your first choice but it’ll be one of the best choices you’ll make.  So try it and let us know what you think.  

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