Imagine if a true legend of the whisky world invited you to a secret distillery that’s roped off to everybody. Everybody except you. And this distillery is very important because it makes one of the single malts that go into the world’s first and most awarded 17-year-old blended whisky — it’s the magic ingredient. Now imagine this legend pours you a dram of a whisky that nobody else on the planet has ever tasted before, and you sit down and enjoy it together…
It sounds like a dream, but it’s happening, Whisky Clubbers.
What is the Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Single Malt Trilogy?
It’s huge, that’s what it is. These three whiskies form one of the most significant trilogies of single malts ever created. It’s a backstage pass behind distillery doors that are usually closed (padlocked, even) to everyone.
It really doesn’t get much bigger than Ballantine’s. These guys have been around since 1827, and it’s safe to say they’re in a league of their own — a super-brand and one of the world’s most beloved and enduring at that.
“For this historic release, we wanted to deliver something truly special,” Ballantine’s Master Blender Sandy Hyslop says.
“We’ve taken our multi-award-winning Ballantine’s 17 Year Old and deconstructed it to reveal and showcase the signature single malts at its core. It’s really exciting to me to be able to share this amazing whisky, which is usually entwined into the blend of Ballantine’s.”
What is Ballantine’s 17 Year old?
It’s the world’s first and most awarded 17 year old blended whisky, made up of a blend of 17 year old single malts. Ballantine’s 17 Year Old has been knocking the socks off whisky lovers for a long time.
It’s also a whisky that demonstrates the mastery of the legendary brand.
“The blending skills at Ballantine’s have long been renowned,” according to the good folks at Whisky Magazine. “The 17 has always seemed the most eloquent demonstration of that.”
Ballantine’s Master Blender Sandy Hyslop is one of the most accomplished Master Blenders in the industry with nearly 40 years of experience, and only the fifth Master Blender to take full responsibility for the Ballantine's blend.
Blending whisky is as much of an art form as it is science, and it takes an incredible amount of skill. According to Sandy, the role of the Master Blender is to “take many different flavours and make something greater than the sum of its parts.” Ballantine’s likens it to a conductor of an orchestra: “There are many different instruments and every note they play must blend together to create a single composition.” With a selection of whiskies, the Master Blender then creates “perfect harmony in your glass.”
But it’s not just the incredible skills of the Master Blenders who’ve been entrusted with guarding the legacy of one of the world’s favourite whiskies — it’s the calibre of the single malts at its centre.
“I have pontificated at great length about Miltonduff and Glenburgie and Glentauchers for years, and how important they are as foundation malts in Ballantine’s,” Sandy says. “I’ve been banging on about Glenburgie and Miltonduff — about what magnificent flavour they have, and everyone’s like: ‘all very well, but we’ve never tried it’.”
The first two releases in the trilogy
We kicked off the trilogy with The Glenburgie 17 Year Old. And what a debut — it picked up gold at this year’s International Wine and Spirits Competition. Widely renowned as the pre-eminent and most prestigious blind tasting challenge, IWSC recognises and crowns the world's best drinks and receives tens of thousands of entries from more than 90 countries.
Our Glenburgie 17 Year Old was awarded 95 pts and was in an elite category of whiskies with the Bunnhabhain 30 Year Old, Glenfiddich Grande Couronne 26 Year Old, Glengoyne 25 Year Old and the Balvenie 25 Year Old that received the same score.
Our Members rated it, too.
“I just loved it from the moment I opened it. Exceptional nose and even better once I poured a dram.” Chris R.
“Really unique palate, outstanding finish. I can see why Ballantine’s is as popular as it is, with this outstanding drop making up a significant portion of the blend.” Tim O.
“The Glenburgie was the perfect combination of age, upfront fruit on the nose & palate, with bright honey and lingering vanilla flavours. The first bottle didn't last long. Very much looking forward to the 3rd bottle in the series.” Sam P.
“It's everything good about Speyside whisky.” Xavier G.
Then came The Miltonduff 17 Year Old.
“Miltonduff is a very special distillery to me,” Sandy says. “Miltonduff is quite different and unique in character. It’s much more concentrated and powerful with the sweet notes coming through with a little bit of spiciness.” And just like the whisky that came before it, Members absolutely loved it.
“The Miltonduff is absolutely wonderful from nose to finish.” Marco M.
“The depth of flavour present in this dram is unmatched. It just seems to tick every box. Balanced, sweet with subtle musty notes and a delicate lingering finish. Definitely one of the best whiskies I've tried.” Brandon E.
“It’s a beautiful whisky. Sits on your tongue and the blast of fruity notes you get is just mesmerisingly good.” Jatinder R.
“Its beautifully refined flavours just oozed sophistication.” Sharon H.
“It is one of the smoothest whiskies I've ever tasted.” Michael O.
And now it’s time for the grand finale.
When we dropped the news to Members that they’d be sipping on the grand finale of the trilogy, The Glentauchers 17 Year Old, in July, they lost it. The news spread through the whisky community and the excitement was palpable.
"Only last night I was looking at the other 2 on my shelf and wondering when the 3rd one was coming. At last, it is here." Chris H.
"So flippin excited!?." Bethany B.
"Not gonna lie. I'm excited!!" Justin R.
"The spot on the shelf has been ready and waiting." Phillip D.
The Glentauchers is the rarest of the whiskies in the trilogy. Founded in 1897, our Glentauchers 17 Year Old is one of less than 15 official releases from the distillery and less than 1% of Glentauchers’ spirit is put aside for release as a single malt.
Glentauchers’ whisky is straight-up, authentic single malt made the old-fashioned way. “That’s our fully manual distillery, we don’t have any computer system running it, Sandy says. In fact, Sandy says his blending team do their malt distilling training at the distillery because “it’s done the traditional way.”
We’re so thrilled to bring Members this very special trilogy. And we’re not the only ones.
“It’s been an absolute joy pulling these expressions together,” Sandy says.
And to mark the finale in this world-first trilogy, we’re going to celebrate. Sandy will join us for a very special virtual tasting as we savour one of the most significant trilogies of single malts side-by-side.
Sandy’s just as excited as we are to sit down and taste these whiskies together: “What I desperately want everyone to do is set them up and compare them. See how you can get three Speyside distilleries with their own unique flavour all matured in the same type of cask to see how that develops over time. It’s a brilliant little set for comparison.”
Make sure you’re a part of whisky history and the story of one of the world’s most iconic whiskies.
Only Members of The Whisky Club get this VIP backstage pass. So, if you’re not yet, join free now to get the grand finale of this incredible journey. And if you’re quick, you can pre-order the first two whiskies and own the complete trilogy.