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Review: 1970s Drambuie

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

1970s Drambuie - 40%

Context: This Difford's Guide article offers a deep-dive history full of war and exiled royalty. The quick of it is that the base for the recipe was a concentrated elixir of herbal tinctures specifically developed for Bonnie Prince Charlie. This recipe (along with a supply of already infused tinctures) was rumored to be gifted to the MacKinnon by the Prince after receiving safe harbor following his botched attempt at the throne.

This bottling was produced at the Edinburgh facility which was up and running in 1959 and closed down in 2001. Apparently, they used to put more scotch in the blend or older scotch in the blend. Either way, I did find it more malt forward than the current. Drambuie was a family run operation until the brand sold in 2014 to William Grant & Sons.

Nose: Lemon pepper. Smoked pork. Butterscotch. It's interesting. Definitely heavy and complex.

Flavor: Malt. Light smoke. Sweet BBQ. Savory spice. Butterscotch. Floral honey. Black jelly beans. Some cheap sugar back here that you get a lot in dusty liqueur.

Palate Structure: Still too sugared up front and in the finish. Fortunately, there's some interesting savory/spice mid-palate to break things up.

Alcohol Integration: As a liqueur, it's built concentrated in terms of sugar and density with room to expand via dilution. But it's more balanced between booze and sugars than many widely distributed contemporary liqueurs. There's enough scotch coming through to provide some action on the palate.

You’d Dig This If You Like:

Manuka Honey

Black Licorice

Smoked meats

Score: 6 (Solid) This is a good head and shoulders above the current version. That said, some of the liqueurs coming out from smaller producers like Tempus Fugit still manage to edge most of vintage options.

Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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