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

March 3, 2020


A little battle of 1966 Bs

Two rare little 1966s from Speyside starting with a B, how does that sound? Maybe not too clever but you see, both were to be found at the Whisky Show Old & Rare in London, a reason as good as any I would say. Great show by the way. Oh and indeed, 1966 is a particularly legendary vintage more or less anywhere from John O’Groats to Carlisle!

Balvenie 30 yo 1966/1997 ‘Vintage Cask’ (45.5%, OB, USA, cask #1896, 204 bottles, 75cl)

Balvenie 30 yo 1966/1997 ‘Vintage Cask’ (45.5%, OB, USA, cask #1896, 204 bottles, 75cl) Five stars
Colour: rather deep gold. Nose: epitomically Balvenie, so rather all on tarte tatin, mirabelle jam and dried apricots at first nosing, then more on tiny tertiary aromas such as camphor and eucalyptus, then pinesap and some kind of earthy tea, perhaps not quite pu-her but getting there. But we’re not done with this complex little bomb since more floral notes tend to come to the front after a good three minutes, rather around orange blossom and a tiny pot-pourri. And then, back on tarte tatin, but perhaps a tarte tatin made with apricots rather than apples. Mouth: rather fantastic, still hitting – but 30 isn’t very old, is it -, warming, starting rather on fudge-y notes, then rushing towards those baked apricots sprinkled with honey and maple syrup. All kinds of pies and pastries, really, especially Danishes (which, some friends told me, have nothing to do with Denmark – really?) So, a wonderful Balvenie from a great vintage and in the prime of life. Finish: rather long, mainly on fudge, maple syrup and honeydew. Pecan praline. Comments: almost liquid cake. Some wonderful, gorgeous, stunning liquid cake from the ‘good old days’!
SGP:641 - 91 points.

Benriach 46 yo 1966/2012 ‘Vestige’ (44.1%, OB, hogshead, cask #2381, 62 bottles)

Benriach 46 yo 1966/2012 ‘Vestige’ (44.1%, OB, hogshead, cask #2381, 62 bottles) Five stars
In French, a vestige is not very positive a word, it’s almost synonymous with a ruin. Which, I’m sure, is exactly not what we’re having in our tasting glass just now… Colour: deep gold. Nose: there are similarities, especially the cake-y, honeyed side, but whilst we were having ripe and compotéed plums and apricots in the Balvenie, this time passion fruits and mangos have taken the lead, which is what most Benriachs distilled within the 1966-1976 decade used to showcase indeed. A total ‘tropical bomb’ and a style that was mainly to be found in Benriach indeed, and Lochside (and to a lesser extent in Bowmore and Laphroaig, as we all know). Hints of fruity hops too, and other floral touches as well, honeysuckle, orange blossom… Awesome! Mouth: there’s clearly more oak than in the younger Balvenie, all rather around herbs and teas, but we’re extremely far from any ueber-tannicity. Pink bananas, mangos, fruit peel, then quite bizarrely, notes of western orchard fruits, not too far from those that are to be found in the 1960s-1970s Balvenies indeed. Plums! Apricots! And papayas. Finish: medium, very very very fruity. All-vitamin fruit juice and drops of mead, touch of liquorice wood in the aftertaste. Comments: wondering if this wouldn’t cure COVID-19!
SGP:751 - 92 points.

(Thank you Jonny and thank you Mark at WhiskyBrother!)







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