...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NOT Single Malt Report: In with the new......Bank Note 5 year old

If you thought I was going to report on Gold Label Reserve or Platinum Label, well, I'm not that sorry to disappoint.  :)   You're just lucky I didn't go with "In With the Nude" and post pictures that would blind all y'all thirsty MFs (Mannochmore finishers).

These reports have always been about my personal whisky experience.  Firstly, I will not pay a dime for Gold Label Reserve nor Platinum Label.  Secondly, I've been on the search for a new everyday blend around here, something to replace Black Label.

I tried Famous Grouse.  It was okay, but got old very quickly.  Too bad I had purchased a one liter bottle of it.  Then I bought Isle of Skye 8 year.  A full step up from Grouse, it had more angles and twists, and was more interesting to mix.  But I tired of it two-thirds of the way down.

I bought Bank Note blindly.  David Driscoll of K&L Wines had been talking it up since they started carrying the blend.  I liked the idea, a high malt blend bottled by a company I like selling for less than 20 bucks, but wasn't ready to go all in.

It's when I read Scotch Noob's positive review, then saw Total Wine & More selling it for $15.99 the following day that I decided I'd take the risk.  One can pay more for a single neat whisky at an LA bar than for a whole bottle of Bank Note.

A little background on it:  Formerly a popular blend in the late 19th century, Bank Note is now owned and produced by AD Rattray, the independent bottling company run by the Morrison family (who'd sold Morrison Bowmore to Suntory two decades ago).  Aside from putting out some great and comparatively cheap single cask single malts, AD Rattray also bottles the McClelland's single malt line: Islay (baby Bowmore), Lowlands (baby Auchentoshan), Highlands (baby Glen Garioch?), and Speyside (baby Benrinnes or Glen Grant?).  Bank Note, a newer product in the US, has a high (40%) malt content, is bottled at 43% ABV, and has the courage to state its young age of 5 years.  It carries that great price and an old-timey bank-note-looking label.

Now to notes on the Note:


pic from Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits, their distributor

Brand: Bank Note
Ownership: AD Rattray
Distilleries: Several, likely including Bowmore, Benrinnes, and Auchentoshan amongst others
Type: Scotch Blended Whisky
Age: at least 5 years
Blend: 40% single malts and 60% grain whiskies
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chill-filtered? Yes
Caramel Coloring? Yes
And here's a fun official Sales Sheet

Color -- Rich gold
Nose -- At first, there's yeast with a tiny bit of sherry and brandy. Give it a few minutes and a seaside boat dock note floats up (motor smoke and seaweed).  Some more time yields a citrus prickle as well as some savory hints.
Palate -- Lots of butter and milk chocolate. A Bowmore-ish peat develops over time, as does some Pale Ale-type bitterness.  Young malt and young grains are present though far in the background.  Burnt bread and a little more bitterness appear after an hour.
Finish -- Vanilla, brown sugar, a little peat, and buttered white bread linger for an impressive length considering the whisky's age and strength.

Sometimes, I just want to dump some whisky in a tumbler, not measuring out exacting pours in a Glencairn glass.  Bank Note works exceptionally well in that category.  It also holds up decently for a proper nosing and tasting.  It makes for a good whisky & soda, as some of the peat even sticks around through that.  I also assembled an Old Fashioned with it, using lemon rather than orange.  Turned out to be a very refreshing summer-appropriate drink.

I'm drinking this all sorts of ways and it's still working.  In fact this bottle is going faster than any other of recent memory.  The peat didn't show up upon the first couple of pours, but after a week or so, there it was.  And even though it's a youngster, I recommend giving it a few minutes in the glass.

Bank Note delivers.  For a blend at its price, I've yet to find an equal.

Availability - An increasing number of liquor specialists
Pricing - $17-$24
Rating - 86