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20151204_144448In my review praising the Ballantine’s 21-year-old edition, I was a bit rough on its sister edition, the Ballantine’s Finest. But you’ll note that I mentioned I have a soft spot for Ballantine’s, which is how the Finest ended up in my hands in the first place. I took a chance.

What I do not have is a soft spot for grammatical carelessness. (For a fuller rendition of my concerns, take a look at my review of the Dalwhinnie Distiller’s Edition. You’ll see that it’s not snobbery. It’s the need to maintain precision in communication. Words are very important, most especially to a preacher.)

I’m not saying I’m perfect. Any editor could scan my stuff and find plenty of mistakes, I’m sure. And I’m not saying I don’t appreciate colloquial styled speech. You’ll certainly find a lot of it in my writings. What bothers me the most, I guess, is the careless usage of the easier stuff; things like homophones. I’m bothered by the mismanagement of words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.

Now, I know that sometimes people are just typing so quickly and the well-intentioned but often troublesome spellchecker catches a word and inserts the wrong one for them. I’ve experienced such travesties, and I know people who are more than aware of the proper usage for words like “there,” “their,” and “they’re” who find themselves being unfairly framed by the machines that tend to rule our lives.

However, I also know that the people who don’t know the difference and continue to assault the folks around them with these mistakes won’t change their evil ways until someone steps up to help them, and perhaps it is the easily stirred post-modern rage at being corrected that dissuades most of us from the conversation and perpetuates the problem. Admittedly, I have that same fear. I often just don’t have the energy for it, anyway, and so I’ll bite my tongue.

But sometimes – sometimes – I am tempted to contest the perpetrator, and I imagine beholding it unfold something like this…


“Thanks so much for sending that short story. It was an inspiring read.”

——–“Your welcome. Ttyl.”


——–“Your welcome.”


———“Are my texts not getting thru? Did you get this one?”

“Yes, I’m getting your texts, I just didn’t understand your response.”


“That’s what I asked.”

———“I know. I said your welcome.”

“My welcome?”

———“What do you mean my welcome?”

“That’s what I’m asking you.”

———“You said thank you. I said your welcome.”

“My welcome?”

———“I don’t understand.”

“Neither do I.”

———“You don’t understand the answer to thank you?”

“I don’t understand why you are answering my thanks by referring to a welcome in my possession. I don’t own any welcomes.”

———“What are you talking about?”

“Okay, how about this… Got a minute more to talk about that story you sent?”

———“Um, sure.”

“I thought it strange that the guy righting the article, who is also the mane character, couldn’t fined the waitress who build him after the meal. She was so kind even in her struggles, and he wanted to prey for her, but he missed the opportunity. I guess that it was knot to be. But hey, who nose? Maybe there’s a chants that he’ll sea her sometime in the future. It makes cents that he will because she works their and he visits every morning to eat his hot serial and drink his tee. What do you think? Do you think this tail between the too is unfinished? Weather or not it is, weed better call this discussion to an end. It is late and it is thyme for bed.”


———-“You’re welcome.”


After such a taxation to heart, soul, and mind, it’s good to have a nice Scotch whisky waiting in the wings to receive you. Of course there are some that bear a resemblance to the carelessness that evoked the above response. And I won’t mislead you. As I noted in the introduction, you do well to steer clear of certain Ballantine’s editions because it is possible to experience unconcerned craftsmanship. But the 17-year-old blend isn’t necessarily in that class.

This one is well-enough scribed and sufficiently edited for at least a modest communication and basic coherency. That being said…

It isn’t the nose that made this whisky, at least it wasn’t for me. There’s a summery lightness about it, although in that same gentleness is the suggestion of too little malt amidst sun-ripened fruit that may have been left out a little too long.

It’s the palate and finish that reach to you and convince you to stay.

The palate is the sweeter homily, delivering more a little Gospel than Law. The sugared grains are unmistakable and swirling in a thinned, cool berry sauce. The finish is short, trickling through and leaving only a slight mention of the whisky’s sweeter darlings.

Nice, and yet I wouldn’t prefer it to the 21-year-old edition. Although, I would say that the Ballantine’s 17-year-old could be a worthy offering to the possibly-offended texting partner noted above. Pour a generous helping of this in his or her glass, and go for it. My bet – offering a kindly swig might might be settling enough to the spirit to allow for you to say whatever you want to them. Give it a try.

If you try it, send me a note afterward and let me know how it went – that is, if you still have all of your teeth.