‘A Treasure Hunt Blend’
N: Similar profile to the ‘Finest’ with more clout. Yeasty, tomatoey, and im detecting cheese again - a touch of Stilton with Gruyere and parmesan. Oily, more olive oil than anything, more than a faint and inviting suggestion of citrus, salt, thick green grass, cloves, aniseed, lots of grain action, and mild banana/set-honey sweet with buttery oat biscuits. Earthy definitely with a touch of peat?, perhaps yes and grapefruit juice running along side the savoury sweetness. Very comforting, well rounded with complexity.
T: Initially a rather innocuous opening gambit, peppery and spirit led but as you let it develop in the mouth it solidifies and creams up. [not dissimilar to making béchamel sauce], but with more a taste of buttercream. Its a rather soft malt experience on the palate, but this is a refreshing change from time to time and certainly a moorish lip smacking one. Its malty and buttery with a good amount of oak and some slightly fuzzy fresh earthy notes to follow. Grapefruit/orange/melon juice toy with the sweeter gentle grain for as long as you can keep it in your mouth - try seventeen seconds.
F: Lots of sweet fennel/onions and bitter sweet grapefruit balanced with vanilla, marshmallows and cream pastries brought on some 'dad noises’. Theres a lot of chewing on the finish which is unusual. Theres also lots of grain showing here and as a grain fan its no problem for me. Its a soft presence but a distinct one nevertheless - North of Scotland perhaps, or Dumbarton? According to wikipedia at time of writing, ‘The Ballantine's flavour is dependent on 50 single malts, four single grains and in particular the fingerprint malts from Miltonduff and Glenburgie’ - so theres some complexity here for sure, grain and otherwise. Toasted hazelnuts appeared tow hours later.
C: Far more challenging than ‘The Finest’ and in so many ways more rewarding. Unusually, the development to finish far outweighs the nose and arrival. I tried this some time ago as a rookie and thought it was lovely, nothing more. Coming back to it with more knowledge and experience its been a wonderful return. Ralfy says, ‘this is an education’ and in fact its a ‘treasure hunt’ blend - much to discover here if you have the inclination. Definitely one to throw in a blind tasting session to test the single malt prejudice.
Scores a B+