Benrinnes – 10 years old – Single Cask (Dràm Mòr)


Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…

As the heading above indicates, I like to blend my reviews with some interesting stories but this time around I’m going for something of a quick hit. So no lengthy backstory, no ancient folklore, just straight on with the review.

The review features a sample from the Spring release of independent bottler, Dràm Mòr and comes from Diageo’s Benrinnes Distillery on Speyside. This is an interesting distillery as there’s no core range single malt available, only a solitary offering in the Flora & Fauna series. Some experience with independent releases has taught me to look out for it, however, as this hidden gem seems to have something about it. Benrinnes is in some ways a typical Speyside but worm tub condensers give weight and meatiness to the spirit which helps to differentiate it from its neighbours and makes it a dram that’s always worth checking out.

*Full disclosure: The sample 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.

Benrinnes – 2013 – 10 years old

This is a 10-year-old single malt distilled in 2013. It spent its full ten years in a refill bourbon hogshead. The whisky is bottled at a cask strength of 57.5% abv. There are around 278 bottles available.

Smell: Feels like quite a lot of bourbon influence on the nose. Almost more like a first-fill rather than a refill cask. Getting a rum & raisin vibe as well. Vanilla and cookie dough. Buttercream. Honey. Touch of citrus. There’s a wee oak char note that gives the slight impression of smoke. There are also some lovely fruits like apples and pears. Some gentle spices.

Taste: Big, spicy arrival with hot peppers. It’s intense and surprisingly oaky. Getting a woody charcoal note. Burnt toffee. Buttered rum. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Water brought out some apples and a touch of fresh lemon. More citrus. Nectarines and peaches. Dry, oaky, spicy finish.

Thoughts: The nose is pleasantly complex and the dram arrives on the palate with a flourish. I felt it fell a little flat and maybe too woody after that initial bang but water provoked it back into life. It’s an unusual dram in that there’s quite a battle going on between the characterful Speyside spirit of Benrinnes and a cask that’s quite active and maybe even a wee bit weird, albeit in a good way. It’s certainly an interesting one with a few fireworks along the way. Don’t think it’ll please everyone but those who enjoy a challenge will get a lot out of it.

Price: £74. That price doesn’t seem unreasonable. Whisky prices are getting ever crazier but Dràm Mòr seem to be managing to keep there’s fairly sensible.

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