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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 1, 2013


A little Banffing today

Ah, Banff! This one too is becoming rarer and rarer. We'll have two of them and then see if we go on, depending on the results. Maybe we could do some kind of randomised verticale?

Banff 1975/2013 (42.9%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon barrel, cask #MoS 13023, 201 bottles)

Banff 1975/2013 (42.9%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon barrel, cask #MoS 13023, 201 bottles) Five stars MoS already had a rather superb 1975 last year (WF 90). Colour: white wine, so very pale for a 37/38yo malt. Nose: hell, yes! Which distillery was the queen of fruit+mustard? That's right, Banff. Granted, this is sweet mustard (maybe blueberry flavoured?) and the fruits are all sour, in a way, but that is superb in the very context. Chinese plum sauce for Peking duck? Other than that, we have herbal teas (lime blossom, orange blossom) and apples, tinned pineapples and quite some white chocolate. Spectacularly different so far. Mouth: for just a fraction of a second, I had thought the oak had taken over, but then the fruits kicked in, together with an unexpected saltiness (coz yeah, there's no salt in whisky, only a saltiness). Fantastic passion fruits, bananas, raspberries, oranges, peaches... The oak's spices remain delicate and pleasantly cinnamony, I'd say. Very good body at barely 43% vol. Finish: okay, the oak got a little louder in the finish, but it's still of the cinnamony kind, not too drying. And, above, all, it's still wonderfully fruity. Comments: old glories never die (try harder next time, S.) I could have gone one or two points higher with just a little less oak in the finish/aftertaste. SGP:651 - 90 points.

Banff 32 yo 1976/2009 (47.1%, Cadenhead, 123 bottles)

Banff 32 yo 1976/2009 (47.1%, Cadenhead, 123 bottles) Five starsCadenhead had quite a bunch of great 1976s in the past. There's no reason why this one shouldn't be just as good. Colour: gold. Nose: this baby's gentler and easier on the nose, rounder as well, with more vanilla and classic fruits such as apples, yellow plums, quinces, apricots, kumquats... Add touches of mint, eucalyptus, some earth, humidor, maybe a few mushrooms (the spicy ones such as the rhodopaxillus - oh forget about that)... Some honey too... Lovely, really lovely. Mouth: it's the same whisky as the 1975, really.  A little more oomph thanks to the higher strength, maybe an added zestiness (lime), probably a slightly lower complexity... But what a fantastic fruitiness altogether. Oh, and there's a little mustard too, even some kind of wasabi sauce (the one they make with ginger and sesame oil, it's a killer). Finish: long, lemony, nervous... Wonderful. Comments: very same high quality as the 1975. No reasons to come up with a different score. SGP:661 - 90 points.

Goody good, I think a randomised verticale was a good idea, if I may say so, let's go on...

Banff 24 yo 1977/2002 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, 306 bottles)

Banff 24 yo 1977/2002 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, 306 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: it's a much harsher, more vegetal one. The mustard and the wasabi are in the front, while it's also oddly medicinal, as if this was an ex-Laphroaig cask. So a lot of antiseptic, aspirin tablets, then sour wood, even cheese, gherkins... Well, this nose suggests either a brilliant palate, or a wreck. Let's see... Mouth: none of the above but it's still strange. Big mustard, pepper, wasabi, grass, then nicer notes of pineapple and maybe litchi... Also green tea, green peppercorn... It's a strange one indeed. With water: no changes, except that the oak gets louder. All this is very green! Finish: long and peppery. Oh and yes, the mustardy side remains prominent. Dustier and soapier aftertaste. Comments: the harder side of Banff. Spectacularly difficult but some parts were very interesting. SGP:461 - 78 points.

Banff 34 yo 1974/2009 (50.4%, Jack Wiebers, Old Train Line, Bourbon cask, cask #0431, 213 bottles)

Banff 34 yo 1974/2009 (50.4%, Jack Wiebers, Old Train Line, Bourbon cask, cask #0431, 213 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: ... and the full fruitiness is back! We're pretty much within the same territories as with the MoS and the CAD, that is to say with this unusual yet wonderful combination of sweet mustard and overripe fruits, including pineapples. I don't feel I need to say more. With water: yes! Swims like a champ, becomes more complex, with roses, sandalwood, incense, sultanas... Mouth (neat): once again, the oak's a tiny-wee tad loudish, but the fruity and peppery/mustardy backbone does stand that, easily. Cider apples aplenty. With water: little development this time. Finish: good length. Dried longans and sultanas, and much less mustard than elsewhere. A curiously mineral and lemony aftertaste. High-end Sancerre? Comments: I feel this baby deserves one extra-point because it's a notch more complex. Another great Banff. Well, one of the greatest IMHO. SGP:561 - 91 points.

Banff 24 yo 1976/2001 (53.7%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #2247, 256 bottles)

Banff 24 yo 1976/2001 (53.7%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #2247, 256 bottles) Four stars This baby could be harsher and rougher... Colour: pale gold. Nose: I sometimes write stupid things! (who said indeed, who?) On the contrary, it's rather rounder, certainly more honeyed, going on with touches of ripe bananas, plums and then quite some vanilla. And, above all, no mustard or very, very little so far. With water: some cardboard coming through, as well as, wait, isn't that mustard? No magnificent swimmer but it does not sink. Mouth (neat): powerful, with a little mustard this time, and then a growing pepperiness. All that on a bed of mirabelle jam and orange marmalade. With water: excellent! Peppered oranges and pink grapefruits. Or these fat ones called pomelos. Finish: long, between citrus fruits and the oak's cinnamon and pepper. Good and clean. Comments: does Banff need 30 years? Anyway, this baby isn't my favourite ever but quality's high, no doubt about that. SGP:551 - 87 points.

PS: it could be that this was the last time we could line-up five untasted Banffs in a row. Sob sob sob... But I hope Cadenhead still have some casks!

More tasting notes Check the index of all Banff I've tasted so far


Whiskyfun fav of the month

June 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Bowmore 1999/2013 (56.5%, Signatory Vintage for Le Gus’t, France, barrel, cask #800293, 236 bottles)  - WF 90

Favourite older bottling:
Springbank 31 yo 1963/1994 (52.3%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, sherry wood) - WF 95

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Glendronach ‘Cask Strength’ (55.2%, OB, batch 2, 2013)  - WF 89







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