Sunday, 26 May 2013

Ballentine's Finest


Spirit Type:
Rating:
 Blended Scotch whisky
★★★☆
Score:
72/100
ABV:
40%
Region:
Scotland 
Body:
Medium
Intensity:
Light-medium
Texture:
Medium
Balance:
Excellent 
Best served:
Neat
Theme(s):
Prune, chocolate, confectionery, black jelly bean, rubber bands, 
In a nutshell:
The odor of immaturity dominates the other character, but sweet prune and chocolate make a heroic effort on the palate with black jelly bean and confectionery that develops into a baklava drenched in young brandy 
Likes:
Smoothness
Dislikes:
Unpleasant notes
Price:
$35

This is an excellent value whisky that is good, mostly enjoyable and dependable (if you can forgive the off notes that pop up now and again!). I did not detect any fireworks or have eye clenching moments, which means this whisky gets three and  a half stars (just above average in my book and "nothing special"). It is a whisky that I enjoy tasting but not smelling, because I think its nose is a major let down. Though it is wonderfully smooth with some complexity and a satisfactory finish, it is a real shame about some unpleasant notes chiming in every now and then.

Nose

Within the sweet fog of prune rests the unpleasant, almost rancid, odor that is pungent with fumes of old rubber bands and immature whisky. That unpleasant aspect is simply too powerful on the nose such that it does not let much else through, beside some dried prune with chocolate fudge, notes of vanilla and nail polish remover from afar. There is something immature and underdeveloped about this whisky, as some sauerkraut and white vinegar merge with wet dough and new spirit.

Taste 

Rum balls and some chocolate develop with the strangest flavour of powdered chocolate that is used for making drinks, very similar to the chocolate flavouring in protein powder for the gym buffs out there! That intense artificial sweetener (for example, "Equal", "SweetNLow" etc) mixes with powdered processed chocolate. It is pleasant for a sweet tooth, with a wave of vanilla and spicy oak bringing crushed cinnamon and mild notes of black jelly beans. This is a very sweet whisky, within which the spark of youth frequently rumbles. Then the immature threads in the tapestry take hold, leaving sourness and boiled cabbage with the bite of those old rubber bands and a graininess.

Finish 

The finish fades quickly but what remains is a thin cloud of cheap VS brandy soaked baklava with sweet honey, pasty and nuts. It is very mild, but lingers for a short while.

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