The Ballantine’s 21 Year Old is a blended Scotch whisky introduced by the brand in 1993. It is the third oldest expression from the Ballantine’s core inventory followed by the Ballantine’s 30 and the Ballantine’s 40.
It was the number one Scotch whisky in Europe, and the number two brand all over the world per a study by the International Wine and Spirits Record conducted in 2015. The Ballantine’s brand although well known for their blended Scotch whiskies, has also recently released a few single malt expressions from their Miltonduff, Glenburgie and Glentauchers Distilleries.
George Ballantine laid the initial foundations for the Ballantine’s brand back in 1827 with a small grocery store before he strengthened his presence in the whisky trade by supplying the spirit to the wealthy and influential.
The Spirits Act of 1860 had unshackled the floodgates for new and improved whisky blends, and the new opportunities allowed George Ballantine to welcome his sons George II, Archibald and Daniel into the business.
Granted with a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1895, the house of Ballantine’s grew in stature with leaps and bounds, and by 1910, the Ballantine’s Finest, their most popular and oldest available blend was first developed.
Over the years, the house of Ballantine’s welcomed four other Master Blenders into their family who left their own mark at the company by releasing a number of other expressions that are still available in the market.
Ballantine’s 21 was the handiwork of Jack Goudy, Ballantine’s Master Blender since 1959. He was so attached to his work that he closely trained two of his closest prodigies to take over his role and preserve the traditions of Ballantine’s for centuries to come.
Robert Hicks and Sandy Hyslop both took over the role of Master Blender at Ballantine’s in 1994 and 2005 respectively, carrying the legacy of Ballantine’s forward through their tireless crusade to preserve the quintessential Ballantine’s taste.
Typically, Ballantine’s blends contain blueprint malt whiskies from their Miltonduff and Glenburgie Distilleries with the grain whiskies arriving from the Dumbarton Distillery back in the day. In 2002, the Dumbarton Distillery was mothballed and the new Strathclyde Distillery in Glasgow took over its role.
The Ballantine’s 21 contains a higher proportion of spirit matured in European Oak barrels, lending it an intense, and rich array of flavors and aromas.
Ballantine’s 21 Year Old carries an alcohol strength of 40% ABV, the permissible limit for Scotch whiskies.
The Ballantine’s 21 Year Old has not won any awards at whisky tasting competitions.
Sweet, with hints of apples and floral aromas.
Smooth, intensely fruity with honeyed sweetness and spiciness.
Long, with an aftertaste of dried fruit.