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Banff distillery was established in 1824 by James McKilligan & Co. on the west side of Banff Bay in Inverboyndie, a small village about a mile west of the town of Banff itself. In 1837 the distillery was taken over by Alex Mackay, and in 1852 ownership transferred to James Simpson Sr. and James Simpson Jr. In 1863, James Simpson Jr. built a new distillery in Inverboyndie to replace the old one. This distillery had better access to rail transport (via the Great North of Scotland Railway) and a better water source in the springs on Fiskaidly farm. Banff distillery has a sad history of fires, explosions and bombings: in 1877 a particularly bad fire damaged or destroyed much of the distillery apart from the warehouse. On 16 August 1941 a German Junkers Ju 88 attacked the distillery and destroyed warehouse no. 12; many whisky casks burned and a great deal of stock was lost. Farmers reported that the whisky had run into nearby water supplies and intoxicated the local animal population. After World War II the distillery returned to operating status and continued to produce whisky until it was finally mothballed in 1983. By the late 1980s, most of the distillery's buildings had been dismantled or demolished. The last warehouse was destroyed in a fire on 11 April 1991. This particular expression was distilled in 1975, finished in a “Rhone Valley red wine” cask and was bottled in 2007 by Douglas Laing in its Old Malt Cask series.
The nose is light and unusually fruity. Hints of grapes, peaches and licorice mingle with vanilla and honey. After a while flavours of fudge and chocolate begin to develop.
The palate is light-bodied and a tad spicy. There is orange peel, followed by dried fruits, with a dusty oakiness setting in towards the end.
The finish is of medium length and warming. Not much fruitiness is left now, and nuts as well as oak and old leather carry the day.
I very much liked the nose that was quite light and got better and better over time. Very elegant really. Sadly, the palate did not live up to the nose and was a tad too watery for my taste. This was an unusual Banff that I quite enjoyed.