Google Today two Banff 1976

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

August 18, 2023



Summer Duets
Today two Banff 1976


Banff Distillery circa 1930 (Banff-Macduff Heritage Trail - Aberdeenshire Council)



Many of us were so obsessed with Ardbeg, Springbank, Port Ellen, or Bowmore, even Brora, that we didn't pay enough attention to these wonderful malts from distilleries that were hardly ever offered as official releases, like Glenugie, Glenlochy, or indeed Banff. Of course, we tasted them as often as possible, but we never truly fought to sample even more of them. And now, it's too late; only G&M and occasionally Signatory can still offer these perfect rarities from time to time. This is the case with the Banff from G&M that we are going to taste today, while, to our horror, we had no more untried sparring-partners left in our stock. Fortunately, we still had one that we had tasted before, but from a different bottle. Indeed, any excuse, as always…



Banff 17 yo 1976/1994 (60.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Five stars
Retrying this wee one, from another bottle. It's been excellent the first time, back in 2010, but it was a bit 'rocket-fueley', which may have changed after thirteen further years of bottle mellowing (I'm using 'bottle ageing' with caution these days – of course not, I'm joking). In truth, many of those very pale CAD AC from the 1990s were tough babies, and I've noticed that several have now improved. I mean, mellowed. Same with some Rare Malts, by the way, and don't get me started with closures being air-tight. Why do they all break as if they were soft cheese these days? Why do so many enthusiasts feel the need to order kilometres of parafilm every three days? Colour: straw. Nose: we'll it's still a bit violent, but there is this very complex, mineral kind of lemonness that cannot not make us think of St. Magdalene. Some bandages, some iodine, anti-rust paint, carbolineum, plaster, a little moisture, metal polish, and then zests and fruit peel, mainly apple peel. Not a gentle, 'tropical and topical' Banff this far. With water: wooh, it got much gentler, we're reminded of some apricot tarte, orange cake and just some good cider. Mouth (neat): very tight, full of green fruits, granny smith, raw rhubarb, a little capsicum, then olive oil and, indeed, some wonderful tart tropical fruits starting to find their way out. First fiddles, passion fruits and grapefruits! With water: perfect. I'm sure it improved over the years. Mojito, lime juice, olive oil, grape pip oil, plus this minerality, between chalk and aspirin tablets. Stewed rhubarb. Finish: a wonderful 17 + 29. 17 years in (refill) wood, 29 years in glass, and probably no light, it doesn't have 'the taste of light' or 'the taste of glass'. Notes of green bananas. Comments: I remember we used to find this series 'rather difficult'. We were just stupid.
SGP:562 - 91 points.

Banff 46 yo 1976/2023 (50.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, The Recollection Series #2, refill sherry butt, cask #2887, 109 bottles)

Banff 46 yo 1976/2023 (50.4%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, The Recollection Series #2, refill sherry butt, cask #2887, 109 bottles) Five stars
This wonder came together with a Port Ellen and a Glen Mhor, which we'll try later if God lets us live. Same vintage, two refills, and a 17 + 29 vs. a 46 + 0, this should be interesting (if a little esoteric)… Colour: gold. Nose: subtle menthol and cut pine wood in the sun, mingled with crushed bananas and all things from a beehive, including honey of course, beeswax, pollen, and said pine wood. After all that classic overture, we'll find a little paraffin, touches of soot, a pinhead of metal polish and that carbolineum that we had already found in the previous one. There's a good slice of distillery character that's remained, but the long years have brought these adorable honeyed notes. I'm telling you, we're heading towards a draw. With water: cinnamon rolls, orange cake, tiny herbs from 'time' (not the magazine, ha), woodruff… Mouth (neat): perfect, rather creamy, with more bananas, oak spices and oils (propolis again, Indian mix with aniseed and caraway), and just many ripe orchard fruits, from apples to peaches. With water: wonderful sweet and sour notes, passion fruit, kiwis, a little tobacco, toffee apple, more stewed rhubarb… Finish: medium long, this time with nuts, pistachio, little orange biscuits, hints of cream eggs… Almonds and honey in the aftertaste, with this piney side that remains most pleasant. Comments: I have the impression that they bottled this one 'because it was ready' rather than 'before it was too late', as the oak was never really dominant. Beautiful old whisky, still fresh, just like, wait, let's find a singer from that era… Say Blondie? No, their first album came out in 1976!
SGP:561 - 91 points.

(Thank you Tim!)


Wgiskyfun 101


Banff Distillery was mothballed in 1983. Most buildings were demolished in the 1980s, while the last warehouse was destroyed in a fire in 1991. Relatively unnoticed twenty years ago, Banff has slowly become more 'cult' as stocks decreased and more pronounced tropical notes appeared in the refill versions.


More tasting notesCheck the index of all Banff we've tasted so far







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