Ballantine 21 years old was added to the range in 1993 (the brand was then owned by Allied Domecq).
The whisky was aged mainly in ex-bourbon casks but with a little higher percentage of sherry casks comparing to younger expressions. The components come from four regions of Scotland including Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside and Islands. Ballantine’s 21 years old is likely the spiciest expression in the range although its formula is still built around Glenburgie and Miltonduff. The other malts included into original line-up were Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Balblair, Glencadam, Tormore and Glentauchers. Back in the 1990s the whisky was bottled at 43% abv (now is 40%) occasionally in elegant blue decanters produced by Wade Ceramics, the company, which have operated since 1867.
Nose: fruity and spicy, mildly smoky, grapefruits, oranges, cloves, ginger, hints of vanilla and honey, salted nuts, licorice and old polished oak.
Palate: slightly oily, toffee, caramel, honey, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, oranges, cherries, raisins, charred oak and peat smoke in the background.
Finish: fairly long, with notes of summer berries, honey, nutmeg, cloves, licorice, peat smoke and well integrated oaky bitterness.