“Sir, you are drunk.”
“I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”
It’s not entirely implausible that Winston Churchill was a bit squiffy on Hankey Bannister, one of his favourite whiskies, when he replied to Lady Astor’s accusation that evening. Even if he was drinking Hankey, it was doubtlessly quite different, in terms of flavour profile, from today’s liquid. Nobody could really say for sure though, because no liquid remained from around that time until a bottle dating back to the mid-1920s was discovered just last year. After undergoing all sorts of sensory evaluations and molecular analysis, Inverhouse master blender Stuart Harvey decided he would try to recreate this blend. Using Hankey Bannister Original as his starting point, he gradually morphed it into the ‘old style’ Hankey using some old whiskies and some peated whiskies. The result? Hankey Bannister Heritage Blend. This dirtier Hankey promises to be richly sweet with a smoky undertone – sounds like my cuppa tea.
Hankey Bannister Heritage Blend
Nose: Toffee apples, Millionaire’s shortbread, vanilla custard, cinnamon spice, faint cocoa and some oily smoke.
Palate: Sweet berries, cherry cake, sultanas, cinder toffee, some cereal notes, pencil and a lovely rich smokiness.
Finish: Quite long, with gentle wood spice, smoke and a dash of oak.
Overall: A very well rounded, complex blend and great value at £25 – the sweet fruitiness and the smoke really work well together, solid stuff. The smoked glass bottle’s pretty cool too, and really helps it stand out from the crowd. I’ve not tasted the 1920s bottling, but I trust this is an accurate recreation of it, and therefore it’s great to gain an insight into what whisky was like back in the early 20th Century. And if it was good enough for Winston, then it’s good enough for me.