The nose on this dram is light, slightly fruited, like coconut oil skin lotion. There are muted flowers, too: imagine a mischievous gardener outfitting campsis radicans blooms with tiny clove muffles to frustrate hummingbirds. But there are essential mango oils here as well. Essential to what, you ask? Well, lassi, let me tell you: those oils bind this well-integrated nose together like butter in a roux.
The mouth hints of peat and offers a syrupy, slightly cloying mouthfeel. Spice fires nicely through the whole tongue. It’s savory, not sharp, with wafting hints of lemon cream in the distance, making John dream of standing against a stucco wall Under the Tuscan Sun with a lock of hair falling insouciantly over one of his eyes. It’s so well-rounded that no piece of it stands out, but it’s nonetheless wonderful, not unlike the frozen yogurt was supposed to be in The Good Place.
The finish yields some pleasant burnt caramel that’s more burnt than caramel, but not so burnt that it’s burned, if you know what I mean. We also got biscuits on the finish, but the American kind. There’s also smoke, wood, and scampering into an outdoor (dry) sauna fired by a wood mix that includes pine. It makes you wish it was snowing lightly outside. It’s quite fine, and at its core fundamentally a Ballantine’s.
On the scale of great memories of drinking Ballantine’s–
The Ballantine’s 17 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky is drinking Ballantine’s on the balcony of the Executive Lounge in a Hilton in Beirut–Did this years ago, long before Lebanon’s most recent troubles, for several straight evenings at sunset overlooking the city. For me, Ballantine’s will always be associated with that view and happy times with friends there. Hoping for days like that to return soon to that lovely part of the world.