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Finest new serve
TypeBlended Scotch whisky
ManufacturerChivas Brothers
(Pernod Ricard)
Country of origin Scotland
Alcohol by volume 40%

Ballantine's is a brand of blended Scotch whisky produced by the Chivas Brothers subsidiary of Pernod Ricard in Dumbarton, Scotland.

The Ballantine's flavour is dependent on fingerprint malts[1][2] from Miltonduff and Glenburgie,[3] blended with 50 single malts and four single grains. The brand has won many accolades and awards for its products.[4]

The world's second highest selling Scotch whisky in 2021,[5] it has historically been strong in Southern Europe.[6]


Ballantine's Scotch whisky can trace its heritage back to 1827, when farmer's son George Ballantine set up a small grocery store in Edinburgh supplying a range of whiskies to his clientele.[7] In 1865 George delegated the store's operation to his eldest son, Archibald, while he opened a larger establishment in Glasgow. Here he concentrated on the wine and spirit trade, catering to clients that included the Hindu Royal Family.[which?][citation needed] He also began to create his own blends. These inspired additional demand, drawing second son, George junior, into the business. Trading as "George Ballantine and Son Ltd", the firm added a bonded warehouse and began to export their Scotch. George senior retired in 1881 and died 10 years later at age 83 with George junior taking over.[citation needed]

Business thrived under George junior, and the family sold out profitably to the firm of Barclay and McKinlay in 1919.[citation needed] Building on the reputation and goodwill of the "Ballantine's" name, the new owners focused on developing it as a brand for their blended whiskies. When increasing resources were needed to compete fully in the growing world market, the internationally experienced Canadian distilling concern of Hiram Walker Gooderham & Worts acquired Ballantine's in 1937. The next year the company received the Grant of Heraldic Arms featured on their bottles, recognising George Ballantine & Son as an "incorporation noble on the Noblesse of Scotland".

The new owners' first task was to secure fillings, to which end the Miltonduff and Glenburgie Distilleries were purchased, and a massive new grain distillery – the largest in Europe – built at Dumbarton.[citation needed] During the 1960s the company turned to Europe – at that time an unexplored market for Scotch whisky – and by 1965 had secured such a strong foothold there that it resolved to gear the home trade to supporting the overseas business.

Strong distribution and the popularity of Scotch whisky in the mid-1980s were key influencers in growth. Ballantine's was named the number one brand in Europe and the third largest in the world in 1986 with the oldest product Ballantine's Finest. In Korea, Ballantine's is the clear number one in the category with its ever-popular Ballantine's 17 in addition to 21 and 30. In 1988, the company became part of the global beverage conglomerate Allied Domecq.

In 2002 the large Dumbarton Grain distillery was mothballed, with production shifting to the Strathclyde Grain distillery in the Gorbals of Glasgow.[citation needed] In 2005 Ballantine's was acquired by Pernod Ricard. Ballantines still maintain a large bonded warehouse complex in Dumbarton East and a bottling plant to the North of the town.

In 2006, Sandy Hyslop was appointed as Ballantine's Master Blender – the 5th Master Blender in Ballantine's 180-year history.[citation needed]


Five of Ballantine's whiskies, in a photo released by Pernod Ricard

Ballantine's produces a range of seven expressions with various characteristics and age statements:[citation needed]

  • Finest: blended – "soft, sweet and complex"
  • Limited: blended – "creamy soft and smooth"
  • 12-year-old: blended – "fresh, soft, and nutty"
  • 12-year-old "Pure Malt": blended malt – "honey sweet, spicy and deep"
  • 17-year-old: blended – "creamy, harmonious and oak-sweetness"
  • 21-year-old: blended – "spig, aromatic and heather smoke"
  • 30-year-old: blended – "rich, oak influenced and lingering"
  • 40-year-old: blended – "incredible depth, complex and extremely fruity"


  1. ^ When making a blended whiskey, a 'fingerprint malt' is the underlying single malt whisky used as its flavour base.
  2. ^ Whisk(e)y 2.0 > Fingerprint Single Malts (March 31, 2005)
  3. ^ "Miltonduff and Glenburgie". masterofmalt.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Awards for Ballantine's Finest". masterofmalt.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  5. ^ Brooker, Alice (30 June 2022). "Top 10 best-selling Scotch whiskies". The Spirits Business. Retrieved 25 February 2023.
  6. ^ Olly Wehring, Pernod Ricard lagging [permanent dead link]Diageo in Scotch despite China leadership - analyst, just-drinks.com, 22 May 2012.
  7. ^ MacLean, Charles (31 March 2008). Eyewitness Companions: Whiskey – Charles MacLean. ISBN 978-0-7566-5239-5. Retrieved 11 September 2016.

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