Berry Bros. & Rudd, distilled at Balmenach, 1979, 56.3%

Price: $232.00 Issue: Fall 2011 Reviewer: Dave Broom

Although one of the old Speyside crew (along with Mortlach, Glenfarclas, and Macallan) Balmenach has, inexplicably in my mind, never even achieved cult status. It has simply kept on making rich, powerful, worm tub-condensed spirit for a multitude of blends. This rare bottling therefore is hugely welcome and shows a friskier than usual side — earthy for sure and a lick of leather as well, but also walnut and sultana. The palate is deep and languorous with a savory edge. £145 (Not available in the U.S.)