Ballantine's – The Story of One True Master Blender
George Ballantine was born into a family of farmers hailing from the town of Broughton Knowe, Peeblesshire. At the tender age of 19, he set up a shop in a completely different part of Edinburgh. He didn’t wanted the great and the good to miss out on his smooth blend. He created a path of his own, driven by the desire to create the ultimate whisky and to never compromise on quality.
The tenacious George didn’t stop there. To let people know about this marvellous whisky, he began advertising his delivery service on trains running up and down the country. Ballantine’s went from strength to strength, expanding and growing every day to match the demands for this finely crafted whisky. With 2,000 gallons of aged whiskies, meticulous attention to detail, and relentless refusal to compromise, George became a trusted supplier. The founder master blender always said, stay true and excellence will always be by your side.
George’s first son, Archibald and his dream of opening George Ballantine & Son became a reality with a store in Edinburgh, followed by one in Glasgow. His 2,000 gallons quickly multiplied to over 20,000 of masterfully blended Ballantine’s Scotch whisky, and the business flourished.
By 1891, as George approached his sunset years, he entrusted the future of both whisky and the Ballantine’s name to his sons. Staying true to George’s will and determination, his sons carried his drive for perfection on through his whisky - which was posthumously awarded a royal warrant by Queen Victoria herself. In 1910, in celebration of George and his passion, his sons created the whisky he is most remembered for - Ballantine’s Finest - complex, elegant and truly iconic. As the years ticked on, and Ballantine’s continued to stay true to George's quest for perfection. Finest was joined by two rather special blends; a definitive Ballantine's 17 Year Old Scotch whisky and what could only be described as a legendary 30 Year Old Scotch whisky.
Then, the roaring 60s celebrated the times with a new, youthful 12 Year Old blend, marked by joyful notes of clementine and honey. Today, the whisky one can find in the 40 Year Old blend was barrelled from this time - if not earlier - creating a complex taste drawn from enviable stocks of whiskies. In the 90s, and as a marking of the rite of passage and fulfilling George’s greatest ambition, Ballantine’s launched a 21 Year Old blend, a refined Scotch whisky that completed the Ballantine’s range.
And now into the 2000s, the newest torch bearer of the ambition for perfection was chosen when Sandy Hyslop joined Ballantine’s to create the whiskies of Ballantine’s future. He became the fifth master blender in 180 years, a testament to his skills and commitment for the perfect blend. Today, Ballantine’s continue to honour the traditions established by George Ballantine and celebrate these with Limited, very rare and exclusive Scotch whisky blended with Ballantine's most valuable malt and grains. Finally in 2011, Jim Murray gave Ballantine’s and the memory of George the highest honour by naming Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Scotch the World Whisky of The Year.
George Ballantine, the noble founder, used to tell his sons – "get the blend right and you’ve got everything right.”