Single malt whisky - tasting notes

09 May 2011

Banff 1975 (A.D. Rattray)

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Banff

This Banff 1975 won a silver medal in the 2010 Malt Maniacs Awards. The label says “bourbon cask” but I really wouldn’t be too sure about that…


Banff 1975 AD Rattray 3354Banff 34 yo 1975 (44,1%, A.D. Rattray 2010, bourbon cask #3354, 250 btl.)

Nose: old sherried Speyside. Rancio aromas, cigars, walnuts, rum & raisins. Hints of smoke (gunpowder?), but overall impressively gentle, waxy and distinguished, with old roses and leathery touches. Precious wood as well. A gentleman. Mouth: perfect strength with more sherry influence and a lovely dustiness. Dried fruits. Plenty of walnuts, this time also softly bitter notes (orange peel and clove). Liquorice. Some nutty notes. The wood (or rather wood polish) comes through, but it’s never dry or tannic. Hints of tea and spices. Finish: not too long, with walnuts, cigars and a spicy edge.

As we’ve seen before, Banff with heavy sherry maturation can work out really nice. Around € 145 but getting hard to find.

Score: 91/100

Banff 1975 (A.D. Rattray) 4.5 Ruben Luyten 2011-05-09
  • Charlie

    Maybe it was an over-charred bourbon cask? :)

  • Ruben

    Maybe. I only looked at the label details after having tried it, and I was stunned. In the 1970’s they didn’t care too much about the little details, you know, and I’ve seen similar errors before.

  • Bert B.

    I also liked this one in last year’s Malt Maniacs Awards, and my notes were:
    N: beautiful sherry, deep and complex, bit nutty, dry tobacco.
    M: spicy and creamy, a cracker, big and yet subtle and complex …

    I tend to believe Ruben … since MM-Awards are to be tasted blind.

    B. !!!

  • Ricardo

    Any sulfur notes?
    I like a nice sherried whisky but am put off by hints of sulfur (the burnt rubber, matches kind).

  • Ruben

    I noticed a slight hint of gunpowder, but I certainly wouldn’t call it sulphury. It was more the gunpowder smoke than the gunpowder itself.

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  • Arild Een

    I generally agree with you Ruben but on this one I am wondering maybe you are wrong. I do not think it is sherried. I and a friend of mine even brought a sample to Jim McEwan at Bruichladdich and he said that he had seen similar bourbon cask impact before. I myself found it to be quite low, yes, but with lots of toasted vanilla oak to balance out the smoke and rough edges.

  • Ruben

    I’ve seen bourbon casks with similar impact before as well, but I’ve also seen labels that say bourbon cask when afterwards the bottler tells me they didn’t have a clue, or they found out it was a sherry cask after all.
    You may be right about the vanilla and toasted oak, but there are sherry elements as well, right? We’ll never know, I guess. What’s more important is that it is great whisky! Did you like it too?

  • Arild Een

    I love it! It is weird and by no means clean, but I love it still. I find it to be quite low on the fruits – which, as you know, usually indicates sherry and that is perhaps why you think it is sherried?

  • Ruben

    The tobacco, rum & raisins, nuts… all sherry notes in my opinion. And I’ve seen dark bourbon casks, but this dark?

  • Arild Een

    Yes, it was rummy too. And even smokey. Did they use peat at Banff back then?
    The latest batch of Octomore Futures from Bruichladdich Distillery has spent only 6 years in bourbon wood but has a ridiculously dark colour.
    From looking at the different bourbons we know that the white oak has a lot of colour in it. How much is left for the Scotch whisky boils down to, I guess, how much time the bourbon has spent in the cask before the empty cask is shipped to Scotland.



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Lagavulin 12 Years (2015)
  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1929 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.