Banff 1974 Gordon & MacPhail 40%

Bottled in 1994 in the Connoisseurs Choice series.

Nose: Citrus, more lemon than orange, a little honey, oak and something Play Doh-ish. Water does not have any effect worth mentioning.

Palate: Oak, vanilla, dried cranberries and heather. There is something reminiscent of an open fire here, too, and it becomes more apparent with water, though I think there might be more of the seared outside of meat cooked over open flame rather than the fire itself.

Comments: Gordon & MacPhail had their moments way back when they insisted of dilluting eveything down to 40% too, and this is a very good example. Perhaps this Banff would have been even better at a higher strength, but I find it hard to imagine.

Thanks to Johnny for the sample.

Imperial 1995 van Wees 46%

Distilled 21 August 1995, bottled 8 December 2014 in the van Wees series The Ultimate. Cask number 50168, which was a hogshead.

Nose: Malt, oak, a little black pepper and something fruity, kiwis perhaps. More appley with water, still very obvious oak.

Palate: Oak, vanilla, citrus, some spruce needles. With water still a lot of oak, yellow apples and some gooseberries on the finish.

Comments: A decent Imperial, but it comes across as a little washed out. I suspect it would have done better at a somewhat higher strength.

Thanks to Håvard for the sample.

Longmorn 26 years Cadenhead Small Batch 49.5%


Nose: Pick and mix candy; Mint humbugs, Haribo peaches and sour frogs. With water it turns towards a flowery sweetness, with red clovers and dandelion flower.

Palate: Tastes older, and stronger, than it smells. Oaky bitterness and almond oil, but also spices, black pepper and some sweeter ones.

Comments: Fantastic nose, nice flavour. I’ll have another, please…

Tried at a tasting with Frode Harring at Raus, 8 June 2016.

Aberlour a’bunadh batch 53 59.7%

Finally a new batch of Aberlour a’bunadh at under 60% abv, meaning it can be legally sold in Norway. According to the importer, a few bottles were on their way, but it’s possible that they disappeared immediately, at least there are noen available through Vinmonopolet just now.

Nose: Plum jam, plum in Madeira, dark chocolate. A little burnt rubber with water, but also chalk and dry, dark chocolate. After a while I find orange marmalade, too.

Palate: Dried fruits, dark chocolate, burnt rubber. Oak and cocoa powder on the finish. Much the same with water.

Comments: I should really have been paying attention and secured a bottle if it did show up at Vinmonopolet. The a’bunadh is an expression I like to have available at all times, and we’re running low. Batch 53 is a perfectly decent batch. The presence of burnt rubber reveals the heavy sherry cask influene, but it’s nicely balanced and not at all overpowering, and I really like the total. Very drinkable, as usual.

Glenallachie 20 years Cadenhead Small Batch 59.1%

Glenallachie 20 years Cadenhead Small Batch bottle

Nose: Lemongrass, malt and oak. With quite a lot of water it turns towards citrus and grass.

Palate: Overoaked, oaky bitterness. With a lot of water: Much better. Malt, candy floss, hazel nuts, still quite a lot of oak.

Comments: Undrinkable at full strength. Better with water, but it never quite redeems itself in my eyes.

Tasted at Trondheim Whiskyfestival 2016.

Dufftown Glenlivet 8 years 40%

Like the Aberlour Glenlivet, this is an older bottling, bottled in the 80ies.


Nose: Dark toffee and dried cranberries. With a lot of water it acquires some maltiness and a hint of fresh fruit.

Palate: More dark toffee and some milk chocolate. Negligible development with water.

Comments: Does nothing to change my impression of Dufftown distillery; They make perfectly decent, but incredibly boring whisky.

Aberlour Glenlivet 8 years 43%

An Aberlour bottled in the 1980ies, when adding “Glenlivet” to your label was still in vogue.


Nose: Butterscotch, some dry oak. Water brings out a little fruit; apples and some pineapple.

Palate: Fudge with rum-raisin flavour. With water, slate and more fudge.

Comments: Not the most complex of whiskies, but definitely a nice every-day sort of dram. Just the tiny hitch of it being unavailable nowadays, of course.

Imperial 1976 35 years Old Malt Cask 50%

Matured in a refill butt, bottled 2011, DL Ref 7431.

I’m expecting to find this too oaky, considering its age, so let’s see if that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy or not.

imperialsNose: Vanilla and orange peel, malt and melon. With water oak and bitter, dark chocolate. After some time in the glass it develops more fruitiness and I am put in mind of Jucy Fruit chewing gum.

Palate: Tobacco smoke, oak, cinnamon bark. More bitter with water, still with a rather strange smokiness. The bitterness disappears after some time in the glass, but is replaced by something plastic-ish.

Comments: An odd thing. Not too oaky in the way I expected, at least, but still not entirely pleasant.

Thanks to StianT for the sample.

BenRiach 15 years Sherry Finish 46%

Matured in American ex-bourbon casks and finished in Pedro Ximenez ex-sherry casks.

BenRiach spirit still
BenRiach spirit still

Nose: Raspberry jam, dried fruit and vanilla. With water the jam turns more towards orance marmelade, and there is some burned sugar as well.

Palate: Burned sugar, plum preserves and oak. More bitterness with water, otherwise much the same.

Comments: A somewhat tame sherrymonster, I’d call it. Quite well balanced and not at all bad, but just too sweet for my palate to make the top grade.

BenRiach 25 years 50%

Shhh, whisky sleeping! The warehouse at BenRiach.
Shhh, whisky sleeping! The warehouse at BenRiach.

Nose: Vanilla, sauna, orange marmelade. With water dried cranberries, black pepper, honey and lavender.

Palate: Wooden planks warmed by the sun, a bitter oak note, hints of dried fruits. Water opens for apricot and honey, and for toffee and a hint of liquorice on the finish.

Comments: Nice complexity, though it needs a little time in the glass to open properly. There is too much wood on both the nose and palate for my taste, but only just too much, so if you’re more into old whisky than I am, you should definitely check this one out.