Vat 69 is a Scotch blended whisky manufactured by William Sanderson & Son Limited of South Queensferry, West Lothian, Scotland, now part of Diageo. The whisky was at first bottled in Port bottles. The first creation of the Vat 69 blend came to be in 1882. The typical Vat 69 bottle was introduced to the market and was not changed for the next hundred years. In 1882, William Sanderson prepared one hundred casks of blended whisky and hired a panel of experts to taste them. The batch from the cask (or “vat”) with number 69 was judged to be the best, and this provided the whisky's brand name.

VAT 69 is a famous old brand of blended whisky, chosen by Sir Ernest Shackleton to accompany him on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 ‘for medicinal and celebratory purposes’, and also famously the favourite whisky of Captain Lewis Nixon of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, immortalised in the book and TV series Band of Brothers.

Despite the name it is not a vatted malt but a blend of about 40 malt and grain whiskies. The different malts are blended with each other at the optimal ripening stage to ensure the best blend.

This means that a light malt of eight years, having reached its ripening summit and coming from the Lowlands adds the same result to the blend as an 18-year-ripened peat malt fromIslay.Therefore Vat 69 Reserve carries no standard age statement.

VAT 69 has hints of spice and caramel, notes of barley malt, with a soft wheat character. A touch of pear juice with a palate of ground almonds and barley malt. Slightly biscuity, more of those pear notes, a little pepper. Sweet, rounded with a woody, spiced finish.

If you're looking for a dependable blend, this is an excellent choice.