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We take Scotch pretty seriously here at Ballantine’s. Lucky for us, the Scots who make our Scotch take it pretty seriously too. So seriously that the ancient Scots used to call it the ‘Uisge-beatha,’ or the ‘water of life.’ Otherwise known as whisky.

But what exactly makes whisky, Scotch? What goes into making whisky, and what makes Ballantine’s whisky so, well, yummy anyway? If these are the burning questions you can’t wait to be answered, then you’ve come to the right place. Our whisky guide delves into the science and history of the amber nectar as well as providing top tips for how you can enjoy Ballantine’s right here, in the present. Scroll on and Slàinte!

[Oh, btw Slàinte is a ‘cheers’ to good health in Gaelic – it’s pronounced slanj]

How Whisky Is Made

Whisky is crafted through a meticulous process that relies on three humble ingredients: barley, yeast, and water. The process begins with malting barley, soaking it in water, and allowing it to germinate. After drying, the malt is ground and mixed with hot water, extracting fermentable sugars. Yeast is then added to ferment the liquid into alcohol.

Distillation follows, typically in copper pot stills, separating alcohol from impurities. The resulting high-proof spirit is aged in wooden casks, to enhance the flavour and character. Scotch whisky must age for at least three years but can be left to mature for decades. Finally, the whisky is filtered and bottled, presenting a rich, complex spirit.

people enjoying ballantines

Ballantine’s Finest

ballantine's finest bottle


Our Ballantine’s Finest bottle breaks the mould, standing proudly square. The heritage of our scotch whisky is apparent in every sip, but the iconic bottle shape is an important part of the story too. Legend has it that our bottles were consciously created so that illicit whisky salesmen could carry their product in briefcases without suspicion during the Prohibition.


Ballantine’s scotch whisky wouldn’t be what it is today without the ingenious input of the master blenders that are woven throughout our history. George Ballantine became our first blender when he started producing his own spirit when he realised that the whisky he was buying just didn’t cut it. Ballantine’s Finest was first blended in 1910 and it stands as the oldest recipe in our current range. Since then, other master blenders have come and gone, creating new and exciting expressions and leaving a lasting impact on our scotch.

Sandy Hyslop pouring blending bottle

How to drink whisky

There’s no rules when it comes to drinking whisky. If you like it, it works. But if you want to try something new or elevate your experience, we’ve got plenty of cocktail recipes to get you started. Opt for a classic, like an Old Fashioned, or try a contemporary recipe such as a lychee cocktail.

Ballantine’s 17 Year Old

ballantines 17 year old blended scotch whisky


Whisky is produced all over the world with popular varieties originating from Japan, Ireland, and the USA. But when it comes to scotch, that can only be made in Scotland. And we think that’s pretty special. There are five whisky regions of Scotland, each with distilleries dotted throughout. Due to the variation in the natural land of each area, they all produce whiskies with distinct characteristics.


Whisky can be enjoyed on its own, with ice or within whisky cocktails. However, pairing it with food offers a delightful experience too. Different whisky expressions have different profiles. Smoky, sweet, citrus, spice and caramel are flavours which can complement or contrast against ingredients in your favourite dishes. Discover how to pair whisky and food for your next night in.

Ballantine’s 30 Year Old

ballantines 30 year old whisky

The best whisky glasses to drink your scotch in

Once you’ve chosen your whisky you need to decide how to drink it. Neat or mixer? Ice or cocktail? There’s a ton of options but no matter how you serve whisky, there’s always a scotch glass for the job. You don’t need to follow these points to the letter – good whisky doesn’t need rules – but it’s always useful to know the ropes when it comes to the different types of whisky glasses.

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Whisky Guide

Whisky Glossary

Don’t know your malt from your grain? Muddled about whether to splash or dash? This glossary is here to help you.

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Whisky Guide


Want to know where we get our name from? Is our scotch vegetarian? All your answers can be found here.

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