Banff 13 1974 Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice

Thanks to Whiskyfan2112 for sharing a sample.

So I’m at a tasting. Breathe in, breathe out. I got this, done this before. Sure, I’ve not been able to drink what with school and being sick, but I got this, right?

“Up next is a Banff.”

I’m out of my depth on this one.

Luckily everyone else is too. We start mentioned if we’ve had one, and I check the giant spreadsheet that truly makes whisky drinking fun. Lo and behold, I have!

Banff 13 1974 Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice is a 13-year-old not cask strength from the now-defunct Banff distillery. As it’s made after 1924, it’s no longer triple distilled, and the stills were heated by oil burners instead of coal. Does this make a difference? I have no idea, that’s way beyond my experience.

So another distillery that died in the 80s, making that decade kinda shitty. And I’m saying that in one that just started with pope slapping and war, so that’s some serious salt I’m sending its way.

Anyway, let’s see how this tastes before the bombs drop (in North America), shall we?

Price: No longer available

Region: Speyside

Vintage: 1974

Abv: 40%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: Persimmon, grassy, mustard, white chocolate

Really odd flavours. Floral, tropical, hot, bit odd. I think people may have thought I was nuts when I said mustard. It’s not quite hot but distinct and not just hot. Does that make sense?

Gets a tad sweet with time.

Taste: Red liquorice, watermelon, cocoa, floral fruit

The sweetness continues, though some bitter/floral notes try to keep it in the saddle. I start getting some generic, less complex flavours and it’s getting me perturbed.

And you’ll find me annoying when I’m perturbed.

Finish: Cereal, honey, sawdust, orange, cocoa

The finish is cereal, some raw notes again, and continues to downgrade on the complexity. Dammit G&M, 40% is just not for making friends.

Conclusion: I want more than it’s giving and that bugs me. This should be my white whale, rant crazy O-M-G review and instead, I have a crazy nose followed by light notes that blend. Nothing’s wrong with this except for the water from 1987 that went into it to make some extra money.

When people complain about low abv ruining a malt, and others don’t quite get why we complain, I’d point to this malt as why. This should be an interesting, cool malt. This should be the reason why we don’t need older malts, or cool finishes, or closing down distilleries. Instead? A feeling something is lost and a bitter reviewer.


Scotch review #1171, Speyside review #329, Whisky Network review #1808

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