Banff 21yo (1982) Rare Malts : Day 2 #Whiskyfabric Advent Calendar

Day 2 revealed not only a closed distillery, but for my palate, a new one too. Never having coming across anything from this now silent distiller, I did wonder when and if I would be able to try some of their whiskies as it’s not necessarily a brand you come across that often. Thankfully for me, a top class Frenchman stepped in to help me out. Franck Debernardi (@LaCaveDeCobalt) from is a top man who has proved to many of the #whiskyfabric that not only is he knowledgable, but also incredibly friendly and generous. A few months back Franck saw that I had mentioned that I wasn’t too fond of the Highland Park bottlings I had recently tried, and took it upon himself to send me a sample from a very nice bottle from his Highland Park collection; all without me mentioning anything. Generosity right there. I’m really glad that we met at this years Whisky Exchange Show and had a great time chatting over some exquisite Balvenie (that’s a story for another time!) This sample was from a special batch of goodies he handed over to me then.

Banff 21yo (1982) (57.1%)
unnamed-3N: Scrumptiously rich this one. Clean and full bodied. Switched between orchard fruits with grass to dark chocolate with hazelnuts. Quite a nutty quality overall actually. Going deeper into the glass brings block palate paints from primary school and a slight metallic note. Hints of citrus and warm spices, with the fresh oak and apples dominating towards the end. Still seems pretty delicate for 57%.

P: Huge hit of fruits upfront, nearly overwhelmingly so as it’s slightly aggressive. Sharp green apples and orange zest. Some strong maltiness here with lots of oak. Sultanas, coconut and lots of thick sherry. The spices really dominate after a while and give a real zingy quality. With water, the sharp fruits simmer down and brings some hay and freshly cut grass.

F: Long. Lingering wood, spices and a slight bitterness. On some sips, even a faint hint of smoke. Quite earthy actually. I found the finish less balanced than the general body here and it had quite a peppery and bitter finish.

Comments: Incredibly fruity, spicy and oaky. It’s always good to try different distilleries, especially closed ones and for my first try of Banff, it wasn’t a let down at all. I was impressed by the chameleon like character of the nose and the fullness of the palate, even if the fruits slightly overwhelmed me. It felt slightly younger than a 21yo due to its vibrant nature, but it’s always a pleasure to try whiskies distilled in the early 80s.





Myself and Franck at TWE Show 2014







Thanks again goes to Franck.


Love London? Love Whisky? Love the London Distillery Company


1-2013-03-30-13-13-56Not many people know (myself included until recently) that London had a rich whisky heritage at one stage, possibly dating back to the thirteenth century. Who knows…maybe even Chaucer himself, enjoyed a London whisky from time to time on his way to Canterbury. I’d like to think so. The important point to remember is that there hasn’t been a distillery in the capital since the early 20th century, when the Lea Valley Distillery (where some of the Olympic park now sits) closed in 1903 due to a crash in the market.

Step in Dareen Rook and co!


Darren giving us some background info


A craft distillery I hear you cry? Well, plans for a new distillery go back to 2010. Four years on, lots of planning, searching, fundraising and renovating later… There is a converted Victorian dairy cold room in Battersea¬†that is now known as the London Distillery Company. This is still a relatively new venture, but an exciting one nonetheless. One that will hopefully encourage an industry that was once active in this great capital to rise up again.



Do I sound excited? I would hope so. This excitement peaked when I got an invite (along with a number of other whisky blaggers bloggers) from the lovely Kirsty Chant, inviting us for a personalised tour with Darren himself. It was a great insight into his mind. His vision, enthusiasm & passion was intrinsic. They are still in what you might call the experimental stages; doing many experiments with yeast varieties whilst trying to find the perfect mix of yeast/barley etc.



A heavy yeasty aroma greets us on entrance, coupled with the sound of hard work and excitement. Some could be fooled into thinking that this is just a bunch of enthusiastic guys throwing some stuff together for fun… But let’s get something straight. These guys know what they are taking about. Darren, a highly knowledgeable chap with years of whisky/spirit experience not only shows great enthusiasm, but a real understanding of this process and the science behind it. He was kind enough to let us nose a selection of his new spirit, explaining the different methods used in production before the filling of the casks and maturation. Darren explained how it will be interesting to see how consistently the sprit will mature over time.



Two stills currently sit, pride of place, in the distillery: Matilda and Christina (names after Darren’s Grandmother and wife). He was overflowing with pride whilst speaking about these two highly polished stills, even showing discomfort when noticing someone’s dirty handprint on Matilda! Christina, the smaller of the two, is currently used to produce the now infamous Dodds Gin produced at the distillery. However, she is also licensed to distill whisky spirit, which comes in handy during these experimental stages. Matilda on the other hand is a pot & column still, and will be the main still during the distillation of the future spirit.





We all agreed from the nosing of the latest spirit, that there are many distinct, exciting and promising points to the spirit. We were told by Darren that they would eventually all be single cask releases which again shows great promise. I heard somewhere that the end of 2016 will signify the whiskies coming of age, but please don’t quote me on that one. Nonetheless, when we finally do see bottles of whisky leaving the doors of this place, it will be a day to celebrate. Whether you are a Londoner or not, watch out for these guys as there are exciting things brewing. I can guarantee that.


Shiny Matilda


Stay classy










I love London. I love whisky…. And I now unequivocally love the excitement, enthusiasm and passion that is driving The London Distillery Company forward.