Ballantine’s, ranked as the second-best selling blended whisky in the world and the top-seller in Europe, has launched a new expression, Ballantine’s Hard Fired.
The namesake process for Hard Fired Scotch starts with the individual selection of American oak barrels by the wood management team. The barrels are then sent to skilled craftsmen at the cooperage to char them for a second time – a process known as ‘hard firing’ – while judging the char length and intensity by sight. Finally, Ballantine’s Master Blender Sandy Hyslop noses each barrel and selects those best to be filled with a unique Ballantine’s blend for resting.
Drawing on his expertise, Sandy Hyslop comments: “Ballantine’s Hard Fired showcases the natural and unique results that American oak and fire produce on Scotch whisky. When charred, casks form a natural layer of caramelized wood sugars that react with whisky and a double char understandably intensifies this effect. The result is a smooth, creamy and subtly smoky Scotch whisky with tasting notes of sweet honey, soft red apples and tangy liqorice. This balanced flavor profile results in a premium whisky that sits well within the Ballantine’s family style while offering something new.”
Ballantine’s Hard Fired has a 40% ABV and will be available from November onwards in Poland and France before rolling out globally in March 2016; price will vary depending on the market.