I have seen the brand Hankey Bannister around for a few years, but nothing really enticed me to try it. That was until John was invited to a Hankey Bannister tasting at Bogeta in Parkhurst. The beautiful little restaurant is owned by Saverio and has an impressive collection of whiskies. Margaret Clarke, the Senior Brand Manager came to SA to introduce this blended Scottish whisky, to whisky lovers. She not only had the Hankey Bannister 12 yo and 25 yo available to taste, but also shared the rare Hankey Bannister 40 yo release with them.
Hankey Bannister & Co. was established by Beaumont Hankey and Hugh Bannister in 1757. Beaumont Hankey was the flamboyant socialite and Hugh Bannister was the astute businessman. Together they made a convincing team. Their wine and spirit business was set up to provide the best wines and spirits for the rapidly developing tastes of London’s glitterati as well as the Royal Household.
They chose a combination of Lowland grains and Highland and Speyside malt whiskies to create their first blend and this is what they became famous for. Rumour has it that this was one of the favourite blends of Sir Winston Churchill.
After various ownership changes, the brand is now owned by Inver House. It is a subsidiary of Thai Beverages. They also own the Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc, Speyburn and Balmenach Distillieries. Hankey Bannister is looked after by the Master Blended Stuart Harvey and exported to over 40 countries. The whisky now is loosely based on the original recipe and contains about 30% of single malt whisky (mainly from the Balblair distillery but also Balmenach and Knockdhu). The remaining 70% is grain whisky.
The Hankey Bannister 12 yo is matured in American ex-Bourbon casks for 12 years. Available in SA for around R 350 a bottle.
Tasting notes for the Hankey Bannister 12 yo Regency blended whisky
COLOUR: Rich Gold.
NOSE: French Vanilla, Oak, Honey, fresh ripe figs.
PALATE: Medium body, but creamy and delicious. More oak and vanilla promised by the nose balanced with malt, fruity sweetness and raisins. This is a very drinkable dram. Adding water brings out creamy smoothness. It is not the most complex of blends, but it is easy drinking and affordable.
FINISH: Long and sweet ending in honey and sweet spice.
I will certainly extend my collection of this interesting blend. Starting with the Hankey Bannister Original. This is the perfect whisky for a rainy afternoon. Warming and comforting, I just sat back, relaxed and watched the summer rain in Africa fall.
I paired the Hankey Bannister 12 yo with some pizza over here. Go and see what pizza pairs best with this blended Scottish whisky.