Thanks to /u/whisky_lads for this sample.
I’ve had these samples for awhile. And have been a little bit confused about them.
You see, the swapped seems to have disappeared. I won’t go into details, however using simple methods like “using Google” and “having his real name and address”, I cyber stalked the living shit out of him and emailed every single one I could. And sent snail mail.
And maybe tried talking to ex-co-workers. And maybe considered seeing if I could show up outside his place, with a boombox.
Suffice to say, I eventually gave up. And during a recent sorting job of my whisky samples I found out I had these samples. And also no room. So I put 1 and 1 together and started drinking, aka the solution of all of life’s problems.
So assuming that the swapped doesn’t come back from wherever he is and doesn’t say these aren’t what the labels say, I’m going to review them as the names.
Up first: Banff 1975 Malts of Scotland ‘Diamonds’.
Banff distillery, if it wasn’t demolished in 1983, would now be as old as Glenlivet. It’s named after the bay of which it was built next to. I guess I could have said upon there, but then I imagine a floating distillery and let’s leave that to Jefferson’s, shall we?
The main thing to know about Banff’s history is this: There were a lot of fires and explosions. Imagine if Michael Bay ever makes whisky: He’ll learn from Banff. It burnt down so much that the owner owned his own fire engine which stayed on site at all times.
It’s so rough that in World War 2 the distillery was hit by bombs. Some say this is due to vandalism. Others point out that at the time the distillery was used as a training camp for pilots.
And then eventually in 1983, the eighties did what the German’s and fire couldn’t, and the distillery was closed down. I like to believe they used bombs as a final send off, but I’m a dreamer.
This dram, specifically, was picked out by Malts of Scotland for their Diamonds series. I have a hard time with Malts of Scotland. Not due to any issues with the whisky. No, more so because their main website is in German and I can’t find out what the Diamond series is. I think it’s their old, special bottles that come in really nice boxes.
Well I come in a nice box too, so maybe it’ll work out well. So let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A in Ontario
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon Barrel
Cask Number: MoS 13023
Number of Bottles: 101
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Lemon tart, pine, mustard, radish, orange juice, pineapple
Odd mixture of unique flavours. Which is what I’d expect from 37 years in a barrel.
In researching this dram I have read up that mustard and fruit are the main characteristics of Banff. It was hard to note the specific flavour on it. Took me awhile to let it open up. The angels have not been kind.
Taste: Mineral, lemon, cumin, grassy, lemongrass, apple juice, caramel
Dry. If I was to drink this at a normal rate (and not a reviewing rate) I’d have missed it open up. It needs time. Maybe some backwash. But let’s say time, as it sounds more classy.
Given said time, there’s a crisp apple juice flavour, and a rich caramel flavour that seem to pop up. Really quite nice.
Finish: Charcoal, brown sugar, mint, mossy, pear
Finishes with some rougher notes. It’s very earth forward here. The flavours don’t match up with the age at the finish.
I went back and checked out the caps on this sample to see if it could have oxidized, however it’s quite tight on there (giggity). Reading other reviews shows that the oak has indeed gotten the best of the finish on this one, so I’ll stop doubting myself.
Conclusion: An interesting dram, to say the least. I’ve never had a Banff before, so part of this was learning the distillery and part of it was seeing what it could give.
The low Abv. caused by the long time has hurt it a little. Some old drams can hold up, others don’t. I feel that’s the case. It took three times the normal amount of time to really open up. Yes, there were unique flavours, however it was just quite rough around the edges for me. I wanted more and it didn’t give that up.
I completely accept that I may have the dram wrong on this one, and if the disappeared swapper shows up, I’m more than happy to change this after the fact. And slap my own ass, for proper punishment.
Scotch review #560, Speyside review #171, Whisky Network review #924