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Monday, 31 August 2009

Little Gem

If you're anything like me, there will be a touch of the Del Boy about you. Let's be honest, whisky is not the cheapest hobby in the world. And finding interesting drams to do notes on, and to expand ones palate, can be a battle that only mastercard win. Scouring pubs for long lost bottles on shelves can sometimes lead to a gold mine (my personal favs include St Magdalene 1979 Rare Malt for £2.50 a dram in a hotel in Liverpool, Laphroaig 30 for £3 a dram in a bar in Brighton and an old Port Ellen for £3 a shot in a hotel in Warrington...) while indie off licences and supermarkets can herald the odd gem here and there (£120 for a Port Ellen 3rd Release last year, in Waitrose anyone??). However, while wandering through Oxford's Flea Market last week I spied a wee bottle of something that would cost me over 150 sheets to buy a full bottle of now-a-days: a late 1970's mini bottling of the Balvenie Founders Reserve (early Cognac Style Bottle), advertised for £3. THREE QUID! Far too expensive for a flea market, so yours truly got it for a shiny new TWO POUND COIN. Homeward bound and off came the top for the following tasting notes:

Balvenie 10 Years Old - Founders Reserve - Late 1970's Cognac Style Bottle - 40% - 50ml

Nose: Very soft fudge, brown sugar, mint and basil. Old wax jackets.

Palate: Flap-jack (honey and oats baked together with sultanas), eversuch a slight hint of smoke (not peat, but wood smoke) and a hit of dark chocolate.

Finish: That spearmint again with a touch of chillies, rounding a decent length for a 40% vol.

Overall: This is beautiful, this dram. Damn the bottle size! Very easy to drink, very rounded and the big hit of spearmint that runs throughout is backed by just a hint of smoke and then all that oaty goodness! My guess is that it contains much less sherry than current Balvenie bottlings. I'd be buying this as a staple for the home if it was under £35 a bottle, which it probably was when it came out.

NOTE: Picture coming soon.