Ballantine’s Finest – Hard Fired

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Scotland unspecified
Type: Blended
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 1/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is fruity and sharp. At first there’s a mix of red berries and green apples sitting on top of a very sharp and unpleasant distillate. Vanilla and butterscotch notes are sitting in the background. The heavily charred oak is coming through quite clear and the charcoal is very much a central part of the whole. With time in the glass the sharpness sudsides and it becomes mild and mellow. This is a decent nose for a cheap blend.

Mouth: It starts out with a big hit of butterscotch and vanilla with a lining of mixed fruits and charcoal. The sweetness is a bit unpleasant like aspartam and it’s mixed with a sweet liquorice note. There’s a nice mellow peppery note within and a not so nice bitterness. It’s sharp and metallic in the back and there’s a wet cardboard note as well. The charcoal slowly increases in intensity for those who are patient.

Finish: The transition is a bit flat and the vanilla, butterscotch and aspartam sweetness sort of just continue on. After a second or two there’s a brighter fruitiness arriving as top notes. The sharp ethanol layer is still making up most of the background together with a slightly bitter oakiness. The charcoal disappear fast as well as the fruitiness and it doesn’t take long for it to fall apart. All that’s left is a flat oakiness and some aspartam sweetness. This is not the best of whiskies but there are some decent casks involved and it lives up to its ”hard fired” claim.

Additional information
This blend was released in 2016. It’s aged in second fill american ex-bourbon barrels. The special thing about this is that the barrels are emptied, then ”hard fired” (recharred) and then the whisky is put back in the barrel for a finishing period. Also, it’s supposedly not the same blend as the original.

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