Benriach 17 TWE Selection 1998/2015 Review

This is a 17 year triple distilled Benriach selected by The Whisky Exchange. It was finished in a PX Sherry puncheon and bottled at 48.9% ABV.

Nose: Watered down fruit punch, malty with a bit of a soapy note and some isopropyl in the background. Fairly bland on first impression with the PX sherry adding minimal fruit notes.

Palate: Quite soapy on the palate as well unfortunately – a bit of grass mixed among the malt notes. Little to no inidication of a sherry finish.

Finish: Soap lingers with a drying oak.

Rating: 73/100 – Disappointed in this one as the PX Sherry finish seems more of a marketing tactic here as there is hardly any discernible impact on the malt. The soap note throughout was quite distracting.

Value for the money: This is still available at TWE for $104 (excluding shipping) – and I would not buy again at any price.

Craigellachie 19 (Old Malt Cask K&L Selection 1995/2015 Cask #HL11780) Review

This is a 19 year Craigellachie matured in an ex-sherry cask and bottled at 50% ABV.

Nose: Bright sherry with malt peaking through – overripe bananas, slightly foral, strawberry rhubarb pie, and lemon oils.

Palate: Oak stands out quite clearly through the sherry coming off slightly young in profile – tart and citrusy with some pepper.

Finish: Turns a bit bitter and oaky as the sherry notes quickly fade.

Rating: 84/100 – Not bad overall, but seems like a tired sherry cask was used.

Value for the money: This retailed for $90 at K&L when it was available, and I don’t think that’s a bad price, but I wouldn’t buy a second at that cost.

Glenturret 28 (Signatory Vintage 1986/2015 Cask #296) Review

This is a 28 year Glenturret matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 51.8% ABV.

Nose: Super malty with loads of dough – strong candied oranges emerging right away. Quite flowerly overall with lavender – lime juice developing as it opens up.

Palate: Strong heather and quite malty with heavy notes of orange peels and lemon drop candies with a bit of honey.

Finish: Citrus notes dominant as malt lingers on with honey.

Rating: 90/100 – One of the most citrusy malts I’ve had that I can remember – the bright, acidic orange notes complement the strong malt profile nicely.

Value for the money: I think I paid around $200 or so for this one delivered from an EU site awhile back, and I’d gladly pay that again.

Longrow 10 Sherrywood Review

This is an older OB from Longrow – a 10 year expression that I’m unsure if it was matured or finished in sherry casks. I’m assuming finished based on what I tasted, but I can’t find any definitive info.

Nose: Butyric acid with subtle sherry – qutie briny with some burning rubber among the minimal peat with some smoked fish.

Palate: Salty but sweet with some subtle fruits blended with the peat, some chalky notes are present with a bit of rubber carrying forward from the nose.

Finish: Disappears rather quickly with mostly the peat lingering.

Rating: 84/100 – Interesting to try a younger, sherry influenced Longrow, but the sherry doesn’t add a whole lot for me.

Value for the money: These are hard to find these days as they were bottled in early 2000s, but I believe this bottle was purchased around a $150-200 retail price point which I would not pay. I’d like to see this closer to $80-100 if it was still produced.

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.

Mortlach 18 (Signatory Vintage TWE Selection 1998/2016 Oloroso Sherry Finish) Review

This is an 18 year Mortlach that was selected by The Whisky Exchange. It was finished in an Oloroso sherry butt for 54 months before being bottled at 55.8% ABV.

Nose: Cherries, nice malty/sherry combo while coming off quite oak heavy for 18 years. A hint of acetone mixed among mineral oils with some banana appearing after a bit.

Palate: Strawberry hard candies with a thick sherry influnce – a tiny bit of farmy malt in the background mixed among the sherry fruit notes.

Finish: Cherry and cocoa notes linger.

Rating: 85/100

Value for the money: This can be bought from the TWE currently at around $125 (excluding shipping). I think that’s a pretty reasonable price for what you’re getting.

SMWS 9.89 “Balanced and Harmonius” (Glen Grant 25) Review

This is a 25 year Glen Grant aged in an ex-sherry refill butt and bottled at 57.5% ABV.

Nose: Quite malty with loads of heather and fresh grass notes – some plum developing alongside a healthy dose of bread dough.

Palate: Doughy with harsh oak and a cotton note – quite dry with heather and malt remaining strong.

Finish: Dries out quickly with dough notes lingering.

Rating: 80/100 – A bit dry all around – very little indication on nose/palate of any sherry involvement.

Value for the money: The retail was around $220 for this one but I saw it on sale closer to $180 at one point. I would pass at either price.

Longmorn 22 (Signatory Vintage TWE Selection 1992/2014 Cask #48488) Review

This is a TWE Selection 22 year Longmorn matured in an ex-sherry hogshead and bottled at 51.4% ABV.

Nose: Loads of spices with a lot of black pepper – dark chocolate covered cherries, fairly heavy oak, and almond extract.

Palate: Oak is heavy here again with muddled fruits and cocoa in background – the sherry influence is minimal and the palate seems rather closed off.

Finish: Bananas and bitter cocoa notes linger.

Rating: 83/100 – I had high hopes for this one as it was quite dark – I was expecting more of a sherry bomb, but the sherry is very tempered/minimal. Tastes much older than 22 years and not in a good way.

Value for the money: I think this was around $175-200 delievered from TWE and I would not buy again at that price.

Balmenach 26 (Signatory Vintage TWE Selection 1988/2015 Cask #3242) Review

This is a TWE Selection 26 year Balmenach matured in an ex-bourbon Hogshead and bottled at 51.1% ABV.

Nose: Honey and lavender with heavy beeswax – some fenugreek developing with tart apples, cherries, and vanilla.

Palate: Loads of honey and wax with the oak coming off harsh – cherry and strawberry notes with vanilla and butterscotch.

Finish: Buttery oak with dried herbs – some harshness from the oak.

Rating: 84/100 – Some promising notes but a bit rough around the edges at times.

Value for the money: I believe I got this delivered around $200 from TWE and I wouldn’t buy it again at that price.

Caol Ila 29 (Bladnoch Forum 1980/2009 Cask #4939) Review

This is a 29 year Caol Ila matured in a refill sherry hogshead and bottled at 55.1% ABV.

Nose: Blackberry coulis, honey, faint smoke, subtle peat, sour oak, and some licorice.

Palate: Quite oaky with blueberry/blackberry notes, mild peat, grassy, nutty, some brown rice, and plum wine.

Finish: Oak dominant with leather and black cherry.

Rating: 89/100 – Quite good – the sherry influence isn’t overwhelming and the peat has mellowed to a good, complimentary level.

Value for the money: Looks like this might run $250-300 which is in line with most other Caol Ilas of this age, and it would be toward the top of my list if you’re looking for a 25-30 year Caol Ila around $300.