Ballantine's 17 Year Old Miltonduff Limited Edition
Ballantine's 17 years old is a revered whisky with a cult following with the general consensus that it's the best blended whisky money can buy. Quite a statement I'm sure you'll agree, but one supported by Whisky Bible superstar Jim Murray who is a staunch advocate of this dram. Over forty different malt and grain whiskies are taken and blended together from the length and breadth of Scotland to create Ballantine's 17 year old. This revered task is currently the responsibility of head distiller Sandy Hyslop.
First distilled in the 1930's, its recipe has remained unchanged to this day and is a jealously guarded secret, only passed down from Master Distiller to apprentice. It contains a superbly balanced blend of malt and grain whiskey from every corner of Scotland and is golden amber in colour, with a deep and elegant nose. The palate is complex and vibrant with honeyed sweetness and hints of oak and peat smoke; this is a complete and luscious whisky full of subtlety, character and colour.
Ballantine's also boasts a host of limited edition expressions that fall under what is known as the Signature Distillery series. These whiskies aim to showcase one of the various core malts that go into creating Ballantine's and these malts are present in higher concentrations in each limited edition. We have seen the release of both the Scapa and Glenburgie Signature Editions and now the Ballantine's 17 Year Old Miltonduff Signature Distillery bottling is available for general sale. It was originally only available in duty free stores so there has never been a better time to add it to your collection. This is a fantastic series that really digs deeper into the history of one of the worlds' favourite blends.
So what role does the Miltonduff single malt play in the creation of Ballantine's? Miltonduff provides power to the blend, working in perfect harmony with the other core malts of Scapa and Glenburgie. It provides warming cinnamon flavours that add a hint of spice and a gentle floral character that balances out the fruity sweetness of the other malts. These characteristics are more prevalent in the Ballantine's 17 Signature Distillery Miltonduff edition although the distinctive Ballantine's style has not been overpowered or lost. Fine work here by Sandy Hyslop.
We found a quote from Peter Moore, Ballantine's International Brand Director, that highlights the reason this expression needs to be tried;
"The Miltonduff Edition is an excellent addition to any whisky connoisseur’s collection. It’s ideal for those looking to explore Ballantine’s 17 Year Old on a deeper level as it offers whisky drinkers a unique insight into the role that the Miltonduff malt plays in the much revered Ballantine’s 17 Year Old blend. It also showcases the excellent work of our Master Blender, Sandy Hyslop, a man who is a world-leader in the art of blending."
The bottle's presentation keeps things visually coherent with the original Ballantine's 17 Year Old bottle and the other two limited edition bottles in the series. A nice dash of orange alludes to the warmth the cinnamon spice provides and the citrus notes that come through on the nose. Without further ado, here are the tasting notes for this highly enjoyable whisky.
Nose: Rich fruity and sweet. Flavours of peaches in syrup, juicy sweet orange and creamy soft toffee with a hint of toasted almonds.
Palate: Sweet scented floral flavours. Extremely smooth with milk chocolate flavours and hints of cinnamon spice, cloves and liquorice root in the background.
Finish: Very long, warm and sweet.