...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Whisky Report: VAT 69 Gold blended whisky (bottled in 1980)

This one is for all you lovers out there.

No word really conjures the beauty of a beverage like "VAT".  Forget Value Added Tax and the Joker falling into a vat of acid.  VAT rhymes with tender words like rat and plutocrat and scat and shat.  And hey, this isn't even a vatted malt.  It's just a cheap high-grain blend.  A cheap high-grain blend that single-handedly destroyed Shackleton's Antarctic voyage in 1915.  Okay maybe not single-handedly.

VAT 69 has been loved by such romantic fictional individuals like Jack Torrance from The Shining, the murdered manwhore Chris Laverly of The Lady in the Lake, and Sergeant Deadhead.

"Hey baby, when things get cold,
nothing helps out a Trans-Antarctic Expedition
like a little VAT 69."
There is a story behind the name and it's très chaud.  When wine and spirits producer William Sanderson was creating his own blend in 1882 he sent 100 different samples to independent judges.  The judges unanimously selected sample 69, but not because it was the best one, but rather they were hammered and couldn't stop giggling about 69.

And that's it for your history lesson today.

The whisky (Gold Label edition!) being reviewed here was discovered by this intrepid blogger who spent two years bravely rescuing the shittiest whiskies from their Long Beach liquor mart prisons.  The guards asked for only $12.99 to free it.

Brand: VAT 69
Ownership at the time: William Sanderson & Sons Ltd. (owned by DCL)
Current ownership: Diageo
Type: Scotch Blended Whisky
Age: minimum 3 years
Alcohol by Volume: 43% (or 86 US proof)
Bottled: 1980

Its color is light golden, as the label says.

The nose has a thick frosting of old bottle blend stank that one just needs to wait out in order to get underneath.  Once there, it gets very nice.  There are vanillas and caramels, with little strawberry and raspberry candy notes.  Orange blossoms, dried grains, and candy canes.  After a while it becomes all flowers and fudge.

Quite some pruney sherry in the palate.  There's a little bit of the stank, then a spicy zing and some citric acidity.  There are mothballs and bland caramel, but also some dark chocolate.  A big barley note lurks beneath.

A lot of the old school pruney sherry in the finish.  Then a menthol glow meets a cinnamon sting.  Not much there there but it lingers longer than expected.


VAT 69 is mostly butt.

*drops the mic*

*stumbles and falls offstage*



No, that was my original commentary, written before I opened the bottle.  VAT 69 is not mostly butt.  The nose is really nice, actually, once it's aired out.  A little bit weird in the mouth at times, but still wholly consumable.  It takes a while to finish, which sometimes is good, sometimes not.

But the bottle is haunted by The Genie's Fart, a phenomenon I've experienced with every dusty blend I've bought from Long Beach shops.  As soon as the bottle is opened, a fetid rotten vegetable odor puffs out.  Once freed, it usually never returns.  Sometimes it penetrates the liquid itself, like with the '72 Haig I reviewed last year at this time.  Here, it does so more gently than that Haig, still lingering in the nose.  Thus you may experience a little toot in the face if you rush into things.  So for God's sakes, people, take your time.  These things are only as filthy as you want them to be.

Availability - 
Happy Hunting?

Pricing - snuggled up at $12.99
Rating - 79