2 June 2011

Hankey Bannister 12 "A Spank-ette of a Dram"

When you first come across a ‘Hankey Bannister’ be reassured that it’s not a term of Cockney rhyming slang, nor a new fangled cocktail whipped up by marketing types to appeal to those at the more youthful end of the dramming demographic spectrum.

Infact what you do have on your hands, or ideally in a glass is a very fine small selection of blended scotch whiskies that were originally created to cater for the top hat and tails brigade in London during the 1800s.

Moving forward 200 hundred years you’ll find bottles of ‘Hankey Bannister’ being sold all over the world, being weighed down on their travels by a string of accolades including a trio of World Whisky Awards.

Despite being one of the more difficult expressions to get hold of in the UK, I recently sampled a drop of the ‘Hankey Bannister 12 year old Regency’ bottling. Not only is it a superb example of marriage perfect blending, it’s also proof if needed that you can buy a beautiful bountiful blend that equals the quality and quintessential-ness of a single malt costing twice the price.

The nose kicks off with wild and wanton waves of pressed and pulverised granny smith apples. Followed by a flotilla of finely chopped fennel fronds and infused wisps of lemony lavender and heathery honey.

A kiwi cheesecake made with an inch thick base of McVitie’s digestive biscuits makes for the next set of sensations, along with a couple of warm fingers of Cadbury’s Fudge and a slosh-ette of sweet sherry.

A whirlwind of wood and winter spices then take a hold of the proceedings, but any harshness is soon kept at bay by an accompanying entourage of plumped up Australian sultanas and cavalcade of Californian raisins.

Subtle balanced bursts of vanilla and sassy sweet grains then fully evolve into a fabulous main stage act, after providing the initial support and backbone to all the other aforementioned nosing delights.

The palate which I have to say delivers a rather charismatic chew-ette, kicks off with a rich, raw yet refined rumpus of oak and a vivaciously verberating volt-ette of vanilla. Followed by the delights from a big glass of hot spiced apple cider, that’s been stirred and finished with a cumbersome and crumbling cinnamon stick.

A bold frolicking and flirting glugette of caramel and a half pound paper bag of Trebor chocolate limes make for the next set of delights, along with subtle hints of rich ripe pineapple, the bitter bite from an early season Seville orange and a pan of sautéed cabbage covered in butter.

Those plumped up dried fruits then make a reappearance, as does that slosh-ette of sherry. Though on this occasion they arrive as one soaked up bursting palatable implosion, that cannot fail to satisfy.

Just when you think this dram has given its all, it then offers up one final round of delights, in the form of a tray of oven baked figs that have been topped off with scoops of vanilla ice cream and dusted with ground black pepper.

The aforementioned delegation of delights then dance a very cheeky cha cha cha on the palate before eventually evolving into a liberating lingering waltz of a finish.