Benrinnes is another distillery with which I am not too well acquainted. It is in the Speyside and pumps out a lot of whisky for Diageo’s blends–they’re known for a sherried style and for triple-distillation* (the only Speysider apparently to do this). The only regular official release, I think, is the 15 yo in the Flora & Fauna range. I haven’t had this one, but I’ve had some indies: a younger, more atypical cask strength ex-bourbon 11 yo from Signatory (which I liked fine) and two older releases, one of which I liked well enough (a 26 yo from Chieftain’s), one that I thought was just okay (a 25 yo from the Bladnoch forum). I’m hoping to get to know these distilleries that are relative blindspots for me a little better and so this Mackillop’s Choice bottling.
*Edit: see clarifications in the comments on this score.
Benrinnes 23, 1988 (43%; Mackillop’s Choice; cask 2836; from a purchased sample)
It does not specify on Whiskybase (and presumably on the label) but this looks like it’s probably ex-bourbon. Why it was not bottled at cask strength, I don’t know: most of the Mackillop’s Choice bottles I’ve seen have been at cask strength.
Nose: Grassy, malty sweetness. Not much else at first but after a little air there’s some musky fruit under it–nothing very distinct though. With more time there’s orange peel and the malt’s a little more roasted now. Not bad.
Palate: Sweet at first but then there’s some citrus followed by a metallic bitterness. The mouthfeel is too thin. There’s a little more depth on the second sip with the citrus intensifying a little (lemon rather than orange here)
Finish: Longer than expected. The sweetness lingers a little but mostly it’s metallic, turning bitter (in an uninteresting kind of way).
Comments: This may be old but it’s not got a whole lot going on other than the age. Kind of run of the mill and anonymous. I didn’t add water as it didn’t seem likely to me that it was going to do the whisky much good–but who knows, maybe it would have gained some complexity.
Rating: 82 points.