January 15, 2017
This week's review focuses on a single cask expression from Benrinnes which somewhat adheres to the distillery style while providing a different interpretation of it.
As we have previously delved into the history of Benrinnes distillery in previous reviews, we will not revisit it and instead plow on with the review of this rather interesting expression.
Those who have tried the whiskies from this distillery would be aware of the meaty characteristic which tends to underpin the flavour profile, but it is also quite well known that this characteristic is better represented in expressions which have been matured in ex-sherry casks.
Ex-bourbon cask matured expressions of Benrinnes, on the other hand, tend to provide a more rounded and sweeter representation of the distillery style while providing vestigial hints of the meaty characteristics of the distillery's house style.
For those who are unfamiliar with this distillery, the reason for this meaty characteristic would be due to the use of the worm tubs during the distillation process. Worm tubs, unlike the more conventional and widely used shell and tube condensers, tend to limit copper contact, thus allowing for more sulphurous notes to remain within the new make spirit.
It must be clarified, though, that most of the sulphur is eliminated during the maturation process and it tends to be transformed into a meaty or butterscotch note, depending on the type of cask used. Some distilleries which utilise worm tubs in their distillation process would be Craigellachie, Dalwhinnie and Mortlach, among others.
So, let's jump right into the review!
Benrinnes 1997 16 Years Old (Bottled by The Maltman, 46% abv)
Nose: Initial entry presents mild honeyed notes along with a certain nuttiness which is reminiscent of macadamias. With time, floral elements and honeysuckle present themselves along with some black pepper, oak and nutmeg.
Palate: Initial entry presents more of the sweet, floral elements from the nose along with the honey and oak. With time, the nutmeg and black pepper augment the oakiness of this dram and bring with it some butterscotch notes (which allude to the use of worm tubs in the distillation process) and just a touch of lime. The nuttiness of the base spirit also lingers in the background and is made up of macadamias and brazil nuts.
Finish: Medium to long on the finish, with the oak, nutmeg, black pepper and brazil nuts being the dominant elements. The honeyed note gradually recedes into the background, allowing for the drier and spicier elements to take control of the proceedings.
Balance: A fairly well-balanced dram which exhibits a good level of complexity while being relatively easy-drinking. It exhibits a more lively flavour profile initially, but does become more drying with time due to the influence of the oak.
This expression is available for purchase by the bottle or the dram for in-bar consumption or by the bottle for retail/takeaway purposes. Please approach our friendly staff for more information on this expression and they will be more than happy to assist you.
Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask
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