Benrinnes 13 (AD Rattray 1998/2012 Cask #6850) Review

This is a 13 year Benrinnes that was matured in an Oloroso sherry butt for 13 years before being bottled at 53.5% ABV.

Nose: Fruit cake, walnuts, banana bread, butterscotch, and muddled fruits – dark, rich fruit notes permeate this sherry bomb.

Palate: Quite flinty with plums among a nutty malt, cocoa and cherry notes mixed with a lot of tannins.

Finish: Quite bitter from all the lingering tannins with a good amount of fruits lingering.

Rating: 88/100 – A very good, heavily sherried Benrinnes. I’m amazed at the color and flavors this has picked up after only 13 years.

Value for the money: Looks like this has been averaging around €150 at auction in recent months which is a pretty great price for what you’re getting.

Benrinnes 15 (Signatory Vintage 1997/2012 43%) Review

This is a 15 year Benrinnes aged in a refill hogshead and bottled by Signatory at 43% ABV. This was sent to me as part of a mystery review swap hence the cryptic label.

Nose: Malty and briny with a little peat and vanilla. Light fruits, subtle sherry.

Palate: Lighly peated and smoky up front – a little sweet but briny and salty as well.

Finish: Slightly bitter with some subtle smoke with the sherry dropping off.

Rating: 84/100 – Interesting dram but a little mild all around.

Value for the money: Guessing this was around $80-$100, but I wouldn’t buy this at anything over $60.

Benrinnes 23 Review

Benrinnes 23 is a sherried expression bottled at 58.8% ABV in 2009 as part of the annual Diageo special release.

Nose: Huge sherry bomb – tinge of smoke, musty old leather-bound books, old oak wrapped in a very thick, syrupy sherry

Palate: Intense, sweet sherry up front with strawberries, old leather, and stewed fruits developing over time

Finish: Lingering spice with tobacco smoke and oak – sherry remains intense throughout the finish

Rating: 95/100 – One of the best sherry bombs I’ve had. I love the smoke in the nose/palate to add a little complexity/diversity with the sherry.

Value for the money: I believe these are going for $250-$300 which is pretty fair compared to other big sherry drams e.g. The General, TUN 1401, etc.

SMWS 36.82 “A grand Dame in a greenhouse” (Benrinnes 17) Review

This is an SMWS pick I picked up through K&L a year or so ago. It was the first Benrinnes I had (and the first SMWS bottle I purchased). It’s a 17 year bottled at 59.1% ABV.

Nose: Sweet berries with a bit of acetone. Damp new oak, grass clippings, fresh mushrooms, heavy earthy notes overall.

Palate: Heat is striking – tastes even hotter than 59.1% (which is pretty high for this old of a malt). Waxy pears, dry oak, coriander, black pepper sprinkled on peanuts.

Finish: Charred, astringent oak with strong malt notes and honey linger.

Rating: 82/100 – Comparing this to one of my favorite Benrinnes expressions (Benrinnes 23) it’s amazing the difference in profile when you take away that sherry cask maturation and replace it with an ex-bourbon cask.

Value for the money: These are no longer available, but they were priced at $150 on K&L when they were sold. I don’t see this one being worth more than $80 compared to what you can get at that price. A premium is typically paid for SMWS bottlings, but many times it’s justified as they have some great picks.