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UEP Subang Jaya Malaysia
Ballentines is a Much Liked Scotch
Oct 10, 2003 11:45 AM 35545 Views
(Updated Oct 10, 2003 11:45 AM)

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Currently I have a one liter bottle of Ballantine's Finest at home which I bought at the Duty Free Emporium at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Unfortunately, the joint had run out of Johnnie Walker Red Label-my favourite blended Scotch whisky-so I decided to get a bottle of Ballantine's Finest which is now the flagship brand of Allied Domecq and reputed to be the tenth largest spirit brand in the world. I personally have always preferred a good single malt to a blended product but the very best blended brands like Red Label, Famous Grouse and Ballantines are arguably better than some of the more mediocre single malts. Lets begin with a wee bit of history. The founder of George Ballantine ' Sons Ltd, came from a farming family in the Scottish borders. He went to Edinburgh in 1827 and set-up a grocers shop in the Cowgate area of the city. He later extended his trading to wines and spirits and by 1867 Ballantine's were trading in the highly fashionable Princes Street of the Scottish capital.


The founders son, also named George, soon established a whisky,wine and cigar merchant business and promoted their Old Glenlivet and Talisker Fine Malt brands. Business was good. In 1903 the family business gained a Royal Warrant but by the 1920's the Ballentine family sold the firm to the junior partners, James Barclay and PA. It was later bought by the giant Canadian company Hiram Walker and a massive new grain distillery-the biggest in Europe-was built at Dunbarton. A good distribution network was built up on the East Coast of the USA. By the 1960s Ballantine's Finest was selling well not only in the East Coast but in Europe as well. Today Ballantine's Finest is the number one brand of blended Scotch whisky in Europe and the de luxe brands including their Gold Seal and Pure Malt sell very well in the Far East as well as in the UK.


The parent company has very impressive,high-powered advertising campaigns, with the slogan '... It's What's Inside That Counts..' Ballantine's Finest is a fairly,complex,refined and elegant branded Scotch whisky and I have grown to like it a lot. I still would not give it higher marks than Red Label or even Famous Grouse but perhaps it would be get four stars out of five from me. It has a pleasant flavour which comes from more than 50 single malt flavours. I would describe it as a reasonably balanced whisky. It is light golden in colour and is 40 ABV. Some whisky drinkers might consider it has a slight sweet taste which might not appeal. In my view it is best drunk straight or perhaps a dash of soda might be added. I have not tried it with any particular food dishes and,in any event, I have never felt that Scotch goes well with food. Have it as a pre-or-after dinner drink. It is widely available in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia and most supermarket chains,liquor stores and duty free shops at international airports stock Ballantine's Finest. Price wise I guess it occupies an intermediate position among blended products.If you like Scotch why not give it a try down at your local bar or perhaps buy a bottle at the duty free shop,next time you go on your overseas holiday,particularly if you are unable to get Red Label or Famous Grouse.. Thanks for reading


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