Scotch has moved considerably away from its namesake. The British Isles may be where this most spirited of spirits had its first dram poured, and remains the most popular today, but whisky has found fans the world over of late – most notably in the Far East. Gentleman’s Journal explored the Japanese whisky revolution in our 5th Anniversary Issue, but another of the leading markets – the world’s 4th largest by value and most vibrant Single Malt market in the world – is Taiwan.
It was for this reason that Ballantine’s, the famed whisky makers who partnered with Gentleman’s Journal on our 2017 Advent Calendar, chose Taipei to launch perhaps their most ambitious line in their almost 200-year history: The Ballantine’s Single Malt Series.
Fusing the traditional and the modern – in very much the same way that the Far Eastern whisky business as a whole has – each of the three Single Malts celebrates nearly two centuries of tradition, heritage and skill of Speyside whisky distillers. And each of the three new bottles is integral to the essence of what makes this Scottish brand so great.
The Glenburgie forms the heart of Ballantine’s whisky character, delivering concentrated fruitiness and honeyed sweetness. Perfectly balanced, with aromas of soft red apples and pears, this whisky has a full and velvety texture and a long, round finish. The Miltonduff Single Malt forms the foundation of Ballantine’s whisky character, bringing warmth and power. Floral with a subtle hint of cinnamon spice, this whisky is extremely smooth with gentle liquorice flavours and a long, warm finish. And the Glentauchers Single Malt delivers the smooth and delicate lingering finish of Ballantine’s. With hints of delicate floral heather on the nose, and soft berries and barley sugar sweets on the palate, this whisky has an incredibly long, luscious finish.
But why launch in the Far East if these products are so quintessentially Scottish? The reasons given by the Ballantine’s bosses, and evident in the launch, are that these are more particular consumers. In a market where innovation and particularity have always been seen hand-in-hand with whisky production, there is an increased want to see the process behind creating the spirit – considerably more so than in Britain.
As such, an interactive experience to learn about the heritage behind the brands, and taste the expressions, was unveiled alongside the launch of the bottles, about which Master Blender Sandy Hyslop said: “This is a truly exciting time for Ballantine’s. Since 1827, Ballantine’s has been creating award-winning whiskies, and the Single Malt series is a bold expression of both Ballantine’s heritage and sense of innovation within the world of whisky.
"The Single Malt series is a bold expression of both Ballantine's heritage and sense of innovation within the world of whisky..."
“Each of these 15 years old Single Malts has been made with the same craft, care and authenticity that goes into every bottle of Ballantine’s, whilst pushing the boundaries of what is currently on the market today. I am certain that whisky drinkers, connoisseurs and collectors alike will enjoy these new whiskies.”
And new is the word. With whisky increasingly shedding both its masculine-centric and old-fashioned image, the Far East is spearheading a revolution – making these high-rise cities and fast-modernising hubs the perfect place for brands such as Ballantine’s to introduce new and exciting products and advancements in the production of this most gentlemanly of spirits.
Learn more about Ballantine’s Single Malt Series here