Chivas Brothers introduces Ballantine’s Hard Fired

4th November, 2015 by Kristiane Sherry

Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers is to launch Ballantine’s Hard Fired, a “subtly smoky” blended Scotch expression created using a “bespoke” cask charring process.

Ballantine's Hard Fired, a "subtly smoky" expression, will initially launch in Poland and France next month

Ballantine’s Hard Fired, a “subtly smoky” expression, will initially launch in Poland and France next month

The whisky’s smoky taste profile is achieved through the “selective second charring, hard firing, of casks”, Peter Moore, Ballantine’s global brand director, said at the global launch event held in London last night.

Second-fill ex-Bourbon casks were charred a second time, before being filled with the matured liquid and finished for “months”, detailed Sandy Hyslop, Ballantine’s master blender.

“Ballantine’s Hard Fired showcases the natural and unique results that American oak and fire produce on Scotch whisky,” he said.

“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.”

Moore described Ballantine’s Hard Fired as “modern, masculine expression” and a “natural progression” for the brand, adding that it taps into current market trends of craftsmanship, authenticity and understanding flavour.

The whisky will initially be launched in France and Poland next month, a wider roll-out, including in travel retail, in March 2016.

Ballantine’s Hard Fired is bottled at 40% abv in a 70cl bottle, and will be positioned “25% higher than Ballantine’s Finest”, said Moore.

Last month, Ballantine’s introduced a new global above-the-line campaign focusing on the brand’s “distinctive long finish”.

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