Hanging Out With Ballantines 12

Last monday i was lucky enough to take part in a quite surreal experience as i was part of a Google Hangout featuring Ballantines 12.

Led by Ballantines master blender Sandy Hyslop this google hangout (think video conference) went through many of the parts that make up the Ballantines 12 Blend and i've given my notes below.

Luckily for many my webcam was playing up so no video feed from me, just audio, which you can watch if you're brave enough in the youtube clip at the bottle of this page. In the meantime have a read through my notes first.

Ballantines Finest Ballantines Finest

First up was the standard bottling in the Ballantines range, the Ballantines Finest i really enjoyed some of the "new make" like notes in this, a lovely dram.

Bottle Name Ballantines Finest
Bottler Ballantines
Distiller Ballantines
Age* NAS
ABV 40%
Nose Quite a fresh nose, there's the sweet floral caramelly note that reminds me of "new make" which i really like, theres a gentle sweet oak and a touch of fresh green bramley apple in there too.
Taste Some treacle and brmaley apple scones that have been dipped in oak tree sap and rolled in demerera sugar
Finish Has a nice gentle warmth that comes with this, heating you like cough medicine.


Ballantines 12 Ballantines 12 Grain Whiskies

This was a really interesting dram and is a blend of the 4 grain whiskies used in Ballantines 12. All 4 are aged for at least 12 years and this was at cask strength. No real indication of exactly which 4 grain whiskies but i would assume Strathclyde will make up a significant amount of it.

Bottle Name Ballantines 12 Grain Whiskies
Bottler Ballantines
Distiller Ballantines
Age* 12
ABV Approx 60%
Nose At full strength there is quite a spike of acetone/alcohol but it calms down quickly and gives way to some nice caramel covered red blush apples edinburgh rock and candyfloss, with a touch of water the apples really shine through.
Taste more of the caramel and red blush apples, the edinburgh rock has merged in with some puff candy also
Finish lovely fresh red blush apples, yummy.


Ballantines 12 Glenburgie 12 Year Old

One of the main signature malts in Ballantines in Glenburgie, pretty much everything they produce is used in blends despite calls from everyone who's tried this lovely single malt for them to bottle it as a Single Malt. This is a single cask sample at full cask strength.

Bottle Name Glenburgie 12 Yar Old
Bottler Ballantines
Distiller Ballantines
Age* 12
ABV approx 60%
Nose The instant i nosed it my mouth started to water there's fresh pink lady apples and oodles of fresh fruit salad in syrup here, a gentle amount of oak tree sap and a splash of demerera sugar too.
Taste A little more bitter than the nose, it's got an edge of good quality belgium milk chocolate in here also
Finish lovely and lasting, a touch drying.


Ballantines 12 Miltonduff 12 Year old

Another of the signatory malts in Ballantines 12 is this 12 Year Old Miltonduff, another cracker of a single malt thats been selected from a single cask and is at natural cask strength.

Bottle Name Miltonduff 12 Year Old
Bottler Ballantines
Distiller Ballantines
Age* 12
ABV Approx 60%
Nose Puff candy with treacle covered edinburgh rock and slices of pears and apples with demerera sugar and a syrup coating. I really like the nose on this one.
Taste Spiced apples with demerera sugar and edinburgh rock, there's a touch of spicy onion in here also
Finish lovely soft fruits with brown sugar and puff candy


Ballantines 12Ballantines 12 Malt Whiskies

This is a blend of the malt whiskies being used in the recipe for the 2012 Ballantines 12 year old bottles, they are at cask strength and if you could work out the right proportions to the grain whisky above you could recreate Ballantines 12.

Bottle Name Ballantines 12 Malt Whiskies
Bottler Ballantines
Distiller Ballantines
Age* 12
ABV Approx 60%
Nose This comes across initially quite malty, with a subtle hint of smoke, gentle fresh fruit salad and a touch of seasalt, fresh green granny smith apples and a slight hint of tangerine.
Taste Creamy and malty with the smoke coming through, the grain must really tame the smoke, theres fruit salad again and some fresh garden herbs
Finish sweet and malty with a linger of smoke.


Ballantines 12 Ballantines 12 Year Old

The actual product, the Ballantines 12 Year Old blend, this is a lovely dram that shows why the Ballantines 17 year old gets such a great reputation.

Bottle Name Ballantines 12 Year Old
Bottler Ballantines
Distiller Ballantines
Age* 12
ABV 40%
Nose Subtle vanilla with sliced pink lady apple and manuka honey, a slight cinnamon like note and some treacle scone and dough like notes
Taste A touch malty with hints of lightly toasted bread and honey.
Finish Easily drinkable


this was a really interesting experience and thanks to Sandy for all his time and comments.

The Youtube video -