MANILA -- If you are a modern Filipino whiskey drinker, Ballantine’s is not just one of those bottles that is top of mind. However, ask your scotch-loving parents and, even grandparents, about Ballantine’s and there’s a big chance that they would have fond memories of having a sip.
Ballantine’s is one of the oldest whiskys in production. The label has had a loyal following worldwide ever since George Ballantine started tinkering around with whisky aging in his Edinburgh grocery back in 1827.
Outside of the Philippines, Ballantine’s is Europe’s No. 1 whisky and second worldwide. It has won many awards from the international whisky community from its complex blend of 50 single malts and grains.
While the brand has different bottles covering different blended whiskys, to aged statements from 12 years to its much sought after 40-year old, a bottle of Ballantine’s Finest is the best way to get to know their scotch.
With a recipe unchanged since 1910, Ballantine’s Finest is light, distinctively fruity, with a bit of smoke, but not enough to be overly peaty. Add a splash of water to enhance the milk chocolate, apple and vanilla notes.
The affordable price tag (it is available at S&R with an SRP of P599 per bottle) may turn off some hard-core whisky fans, but it prominently does not have that rough finish typically associated to whiskys at the same price range.
The relatively newbie friendly notes and affordable price make Ballantine’s Finest a good choice for a daily drinker.
Hamish Houliston, Ballantine’s brand ambassador, stayed in the Philippines for two years and is very familiar with local favorites. He said that the whisky would be nicely paired with our local barbecue and smoked fish. He recommends mixing Ballantine’s Finest with cola and a squeeze of calamansi to make a refreshing cocktail that goes with virtually anything.
“Ballantine’s Finest is one of the more underrated gems out there when it comes to blended Scotch whisky, just because of its relatively balanced flavor profile and rounded finish,” said Kurt Ducusin, Ballantine’s Finest Philippines brand executive. “For Filipinos looking to get into whisky but don’t know where to start, Ballantine’s Finest is a solid choice waiting for them.”