Angus’s Birthday Bash Bottles – Part 3
As We Get It. Macfarlane, Bruce & Co. Circa 1970. 102.9 proof.
I love this series and the early ones by MB&C are almost all great. Hard to find nowadays.
Colour: Oaked Chardonnay
Nose: Gravel, chalk, seashore, dried seaweed and after a minute glimmers of tropical fruits such as pineapple, papaya and passion fruit. This is young, hot and totally pristine distillate – you could also be forgiven for mistaking this for a very strong young 1960s Bowmore. Goes on with fresh cut grass, mangoes, agave juice and a little blade like stab of smoke. Totally brilliant distillate, old style but entirely captivating; austere yet playful. With water… more citrus and more cereal now, it’s clearly a young whisky but that really doesn’t matter when the distillate is this good and swaggers about with this much character. It’s still remarkably coastal for Balvenie, water brings out a beautifully elegant saline note amongst all the wild flowers and fresh garden fruits.
Palate: It’s hot but the fruit is pretty immediate, more cactus, mango, gravel – all kinds of minerals in fact – more of this suggestive Bowmoreness, butter, chives, cereal, parsley – gorgeous. There’s also emerging notes of olive oil, sunflower seeds and brioche with a huge freshness. This is clean, hyper sharp and really alive. Probably the closest you can get to how whisky tasted when freshly bottled 40-50 years ago, there’s almost no old bottle effect in this at all. With water: more salt, orange peel, tangerine liqueur, a faint dusting of spices and more citrus notes. Perhaps moving more towards more classical Balvenie qualities now but still remains remarkably coastal. Just wonderful!
Finish: Long, sharp, coastal and pristine. A Samurai dancing with many blades. Citrus, wild flowers, bread, agave tequila and more little flashes of tropical fruits.
Comments: It’s worth re-iterating the above: I’m convinced these bottlings are the closest you can get to how whisky tasted when freshly bottled several decades ago. The freshness, the youth of the spirit and the huge character of the distillate are all loud and impeccable. Also a totally unique Balvenie that feels as though it was conceived secretly on Islay.
As We Get It. Macfarlane, Bruce & Co. Circa 1960. 100.9 proof.
This is the oldest ‘As We Get It’ bottling I’ve ever seen let alone tasted. Probably one of the earliest releases they ever did. I’m excited…
Colour: White wine
Nose: Another very young one, spirity but hyper-clean, very fresh and alive with citrus notes, (lemon cheesecake as someone said when it was first opened) fresh barley and more of these lovely notes of chives, parsley and fresh butter. Little notes of geranium, juniper and rapeseed oil develop but the whole remains perhaps a little closed still. Lets try some water… lemons, thistles, gorse, wax, stone fruits and dandelions. There just isn’t a trace of wood anywhere in this one but the purity and character is just wonderful. Becomes fatter with more plum fruit notes and cereals after a little more time.
Palate: A beautiful beginning on all kinds of waxes, soot, minerals, hessian and chives. Sunflower seeds, olive oil, dried mango and freshly baked tea cake. It’s quite dry but beautifully complex and elegant. Once again the whisky is clearly young but such things just don’t matter when the distillate is so well made and rich with personality. With water… water seems to magnify the waxiness and bring out more of the classical old highlands style qualities such as sootiness, slight farmyard touches, spices and citrus peel. Quite majestic distillate if you ask me.
Finish: Wonderfully long on all sorts of citrus notes, freshly baked cakes, breads, wax and all kinds of oils.
Comments: Another fantastic old As We Get It bottling that shares a lot in common with the Balvenie. Once again the obvious youthfulness and power of the spirit are great assets here. These bottlings are both like perfectly preserved liquid time capsules of the raw character of malt whisky and how it used to taste several decades ago, pre-modernisation. Just wonderful, I can’t decide between them so.. snap:
Stay tuned for Angus’s Birthday Bash Bottles – Part 4. In the meantime If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy these: