Ballantines Hard FiredBallantine’s Blended Scotch Whisky has announced the launch of a new expression, which is said to have had its taste profile developed through the transformative power of fire.

Ballantine’s Hard Fired (40% ABV) has been made using American oak barrels which were chosen by the Ballantine’s wood management team. The barrels were then sent to the cooperage to be charred for a second time, a process known as ‘hard firing’ where the char length and intensity is judged by sight. Master Blender Sandy Hyslop then nosed each barrel and selected those best to be filled with a Ballantine’s blend for resting.

This latest expression is said to introduce a bespoke process in the production of Scotch whisky and provide a unique experience within the Ballantine’s family, which aimed at whisky drinkers seeking authenticity and craftsmanship in new Scotch styles.

Commenting on the launch, Sandy Hyslop said: “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 caramelised 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 liquorice. This balanced flavour profile results in a premium whisky that sits well within the Ballantine’s family style while offering something new.”

Ballantine’s Hard Fired, will be available later this month in Poland and France before rolling out globally in March 2016, retailing for around 25% more than Ballantine’s Finest expression.