Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
Welcome to the fifth and final entry in my week-long look at a selection of Single Cask Nation whiskies. So far, I’ve sampled drams from Linkwood, Longmorn, Mackmyra and Loch Lomond but I’ve been especially looking forward to this final offering. Benrinnes has been a favourite distillery of mine for a few years now. I find it difficult to say exactly why that is, it just seems to have something a wee bit different to other Speyside malts. It also tends to do pretty well in ex-sherry casks and this first fill sherry hogshead bottling caused something of a stir when it did the rounds on the socials.
Single Cask Nation began life as a member society, making interesting and unique single cask whiskies (and other spirits) available to like-minded drinkers. In recent years, however, the business has expanded beyond its US home by releasing batches exclusively for the “rest of the world” market. That, of course, includes Scotland. Which is why I got my grubby little paws on this sample set in the first place.
Benrinnes Distillery was established in 1826… Sort of. The original distillery was only in operation for three years before it was destroyed in the Great Moray Floods of 1829. The current distillery commenced production in 1835. Today it is owned by international spirits giant, Diageo, and largely produces whisky for blended Scotch. Official bottlings are limited to a single release in the Flora & Fauna series. Thank goodness for the independent bottlers!
For part one in this series (Longmorn) visit here.
For part two in this series (Linkwood) visit here.
For part three in this series (Mackmyra) visit here.
For part four in this series (Loch Lomond Croftengea) visit here.
Single Cask Nation Benrinnes 2011 Single Malt
*Full disclosure: the whisky featured in this article was sent to me free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Smell: Lots of sherry influence on this one. Raisins, prunes and figs. Walnut. Polished oak furniture. Glace cherries. Tobacco leaves. A wee bit meaty, like barbecued ribs with a honey glaze. Golden syrup.
Taste: The dried fruits lead the charge again, lots of those cliched Christmas Cake notes. There’s also some nutmeg and clove. Ginger loaf. Black pepper. Some dank dunnage oak on the finish.
Thoughts: Having seen some social media buzz regarding this dram, the contrarian in me wanted to find fault – I’ve never really been one for following a crowd – and, I suppose, if I was nitpicking, the sherry cask is maybe a wee bit too dominant and doesn’t let much of the Benrinnes spirit through… That’s a bit of a reach though because it’s a cracking wee pour that delivers an abundance of rich, warming flavours. There really isn’t an awful lot to grumble about. I doubt it’ll work out for you if you don’t enjoy the heavily sherried style but those that do are on to a certain winner. A proper comfort malt.
Price: £76. Adding to the dram’s appeal is a fairly reasonable price point, especially considering the exaggerating effect the words “sherry bomb” usually have on cost. If there’s any still around, I doubt it’ll last long so move fast.
For more on Single Cask Nation visit https://singlecasknation.com/