Google A flood of Benrinnes, Act Three

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 17, 2019


A flood of Benrinnes, Act Three

Because nothing is impossible to a valiant heart. More seriously, these Benrinnes are very good, I’m sure we couldn’t fetch the same high averages today with much bigger names such as Macallan or Ardbeg. Aren’t the cards being seriously reshuffled these days? But first, the usual aperitif at lower strength…

Benrinnes 1996/2009 (43%, Jean Boyer, Best Casks of Scotland, sherry casks)

Benrinnes 1996/2009 (43%, Jean Boyer, Best Casks of Scotland, sherry casks) Three stars
Hugs Jean Marie! Colour: gold. Nose: not quite a Macallan killer, but it’s easy and well-composed, with lovely raisins, malt, energy bars, cakes and chocolate. Café latte as well, and indeed Benrinnes’ waxy/meaty side, but not quite at full volume. A gentle Benrinnes, much gentler than the official Flora & Fauna, for example. Mouth: mead and sweet wine (Banyuls), raisins, raisin rolls, cakes, some oranges… It’s all fine. Finish: medium, cake-y, malty, raisiny. Comments: some character, already, even if it’s no big malt whisky. Goes down very well.
SGP:541 - 82 points.

While we’re having some older French bottlings…

Benrinnes 1998/2012 (46%, L’Esprit, sherry butt, cask #6863)

Benrinnes 1998/2012 (46%, L’Esprit, sherry butt, cask #6863) Three stars and a half
This baby by Whisky & Rhum in Brittany. A very good house, they also have great rums, as their name suggests. Colour: gold. Nose: oh, we’re closer to the F&F, with a lot of meat, bouillons, sauces, soups, broths, and whatnot. All that is coated with some fudge and caramel, which rather works, mind you. Notes of amontillado, walnut wine, riewele supp (an Alsatian thing, don’t bother) and very old Sauternes. Caramel and botrytis. Mouth: a little more difficult, it’s hard to keep this kind of cohesiveness on the palate. A sour side, perhaps a touch of rubber (or some wee sulphur from the butt), otherwise bags of raisins and this matiness again. Some brandy too, why not brandy de Jerez? Finish: medium, meaty, slightly sulphury. Rapeseed oil and leather. Comments: some action in there!
SGP:652 - 84 points.

Benrinnes 18 yo 2000/2019 (57.5%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 546 bottles)

Benrinnes 18 yo 2000/2019 (57.5%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, 546 bottles) Three stars
How they managed to pull only 546 bottles from four (4) barrels, I don’t know. No, wait, that’s possible… Colour: straw. Nose: ah, a quieter one. Sunflower oil, soft honey, Weetabix, croissants, potato cake, tutti frutti eau-de-vie… This baby may well need a few drops of water. So, with water: well, it got grassier, not really more… say emphatic. Mouth (neat): some slightly fizzy grapefruit juice, rhubarb, and a lighter albeit grassy olive oil. Very dry, almost bitter. With water: it’s okay, on grass juice, lemon, cucumbers… Finish: medium, grassy, lemony. Comments: good, W.M. Cadenhead, let’s drop that Aston-Martin, I’d be happy with a Mini Cooper or something similar, but I’d really need the dual-zone automatic climate control, thank you.
SGP:451 - 81 points.

Benrinnes 15 yo 1999/2014 (64.6%, Douglas Laing for La Maison du Whisky, sherry butt, cask #DL10102, 579 bottles)

Benrinnes 15 yo 1999/2014 (64.6%, Douglas Laing for La Maison du Whisky, sherry butt, cask #DL10102, 579 bottles) Three stars
Yeah yeah, 65% vol., attempted murder, this will be costly… Seriously, we expect some meaty extravaganza – and no whisky for vegans. Colour: full gold. Nose: ah, no. No Bovril, no Maggi, no lovage, no soy sauce, no beef stock, rather pencil shavings and vegetal varnish, plus cakes straight from the oven. It’s not that it would burn your nose, but I’m sure it’ll benefit from a few good drops of proper water. With water: a walk in the meadows and the woods after a good shower. Mushrooms, moss, leaves, chestnuts, old branches… Mouth (neat): meaty and earthy and mentholated oranges and cakes, perhaps, plus a lot of rubber. Chewing rubber bands dipped in Grand-Marnier… or something. Quick… With water: adios rubber, welcome deep-roasted nuts, burnt cakes, leather, and salty meat soups. And menthol! Finish: very long, meaty and grassy, a bit sour, and mentholated. Pine resin and salty chicken soup in the aftertaste. Comments: not an easy one, I would say they should have added ‘handle with care’ to the label. And ‘flammable liquid’.
SGP:372 - 82 points.

Benrinnes 18 yo 1997/2016 (52.2%, Whisky-Fässle, hogshead)

Benrinnes 18 yo 1997/2016 (52.2%, Whisky-Fässle, hogshead) Four stars
Let’s see what the ducks have to say. I know, quack quack… (never, ever drink and taste, S.) Colour: white wine. Nose: right, a luminous, totally wax-driven Benrinnes, with croissants, sunflower oil, beeswax, fresh asparagus, and lemon peel. Smart and irrefutable, shall we say. With water: yep, wool, dough, grist, wax, oils… Mouth (neat): funny notes of good rum (I’m thinking Foursquare), then lamp petrol, grass juice, bitter almonds, and a little fresh ginger. And turmeric, perhaps, which will cure anything according to The Internet. With water: don’t add too much please. Otherwise, all fine, chalky, lemony, slightly salty… Finish: long, waxy, salty, lemony and grassy. Comments: millimetric, as we sometimes say. Won’t work after Brexit, I suppose.
SGP:462 - 87 points.

I agree it’s time to put an end to this madness, with an unusual vintage…

Benrinnes 12 yo 1988/2000 (58.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles)

Benrinnes 12 yo 1988/2000 (58.5%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon hogshead, 294 bottles) Four stars and a half
Aren’t we a little late here? Colour: light gold. Nose: it seems that like at several other distilleries (Springbank, Bowmore…), they improved the make around the years 1990s, because this was way mashier, more buttery, farmier, and simply yeastier. I wouldn’t say it is feinty, not at all, but it may lack the kind of high definition that we found in the 1990s. With water:  mud, wool, paraffin. Rings a bell… Mouth (neat): well, cancel all that gibberish, this is excellent. Perfect tart earthiness, lemons, roots, and waxes. A perfect whole, tense and tight, straight as a string. Pouilly-Fumé again (I think we mentioned that before within this Benrinnes series). With water: yeah, perfect waxy grapefruits, in the style of some good-vintage Clynelish. As if you would say ‘in the style of Rembrandt’. Finish: wonderful, totally chalky and lemony. Have I mentioned Pouilly-Fumé before?  Comments: W.M. Cadenhead, just drop the Mini Cooper, a pint of good lager will do. Or three.
SGP:462 - 89 points.

Good, eighteen Benrinnes, that’s not too bad, is it?

(Und Danke schön, Cato and Tom)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Benrinnes we've tasted so far







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