Ballantine’s Hard Fired is a blended Scotch whisky part of the core range of Ballantine’s. It is one of the newest additions to the Ballantine’s inventory and has been developed by Master Blender Sandy Hyslop.
It is a uniquely finished blended Scotch whisky from Ballantine’s, one of the few new-age introductions by the Master Blender such as Ballantine’s Brasil, Ballantine’s Passion and another range of unprecedented single malt whiskies, the Glenburgie, the Milton duff and the Glentauchers.
The Ballantine’s brand was established by George Ballantine in 1827 when he ventured into the whisky blending business at the age of nineteen. He was later joined in the business by his sons, George II, Archibald and Daniel Ballantine, and later by his grandson, George Ballantine III.
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, more and more blends were added to the Ballantine’s core range as the brand grew in stature and their success allowed them to purchase the Milton duff and Glenburgie Distilleries in order to meet the demands of their overwhelming sales. The Dumbarton Distillery which produced the grain whiskies used in the Ballantine’s blends was recently replaced by the Strathclyde distillery.
Sandy Hyslop, the fifth Master Blender, student and protégé of legendary Ballantine’s Master Blender Jack Goudy was the mastermind behind the unique and diverse new additions to the Ballantine’s family of blends.
The Ballantine’s Hard Fired blend is a no-age-statement blend, and although no clear information regarding the proportions of the whisky are made available by the brand, it could be the same Ballantine’s Finest blend.
The factor that distinguishes Hard Fired from the other Ballantine’s blends is the finishing process for the whisky. The aged spirit is vacated from their barrels which are then heavily charred on the inside, hence the name Hard Fired, and the whisky is then re-filled into these barrels.
It is then allowed to mature for a few more months in the heavily charred barrels, absorbing the characteristics of smoke and caramelized wood, lending it a new repertoire of flavors and aromas.
Ballantine’s Hard Fired blended Scotch whisky carries an alcohol strength of 40% ABV, the permissible limit for Scotch whiskies.
The Ballantine’s Hard Fired has won the Master award at The Scotch Whisky Masters in the Blended: No Age Statement category in 2018.
Smoky and sweet, with a fruity aroma and hints of citrus.
Sweet, with a generous vanilla palate complemented by traces of spice, fudge and smoke.
Long, smooth finish with a touch of smoky aftertaste.