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.
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.
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.
Nose: 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.
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.