Well, would you look at what we have here? It’s a single malt from Benrinnes, and it joins the independent range of bottlings from us – Master of Malt! After checking over our stash of splendid spirits, this one was looking good and ready for bottling, having spent a total of 11 years maturing, including a finishing period in ex-oloroso hogsheads. The casks were cracked open in 2022, unleashing a total of 195 bottles at a hearty 57.2% ABV. A drop of water can certainly help to open up the flavours here.Master of malt
Chestnut brown in colour, it leaves a lovely thick swirl line on my Glencairn glass, which drop several slow medium thick legs and scattered beads.
We’re straight into heavier aromas here, there’s no need to wait. For me it kicks off with molasses and dunnage, and an old leathery heathery earthiness with black tea also, though a sweetness is also in here, Garibaldi biscuits come firmly to mind.
More time brings raw linseed, dark chocolate digestives, cloves, liquorice torpedo sweets, brownies and when raising my glass to my nose I get a nice bitter lemon aroma.
Mouthfeel is nice, quite oily, and we’re into spices straight away. There is a syrupy sweetness here too, then cola cubes, cloves, hazelnuts, pontefract cakes, and it’s quite the chest warmer too.
Waiting longer and initially on tasting it has become a little sweeter, I’m thinking lots of stewed dark fruits, Black Forest gateau, black cherry juice, and there’s a little drying now. Eventually it leads to cigar leaves, red fruit syrup in black coffee, and well toasted tea cakes.
Quite long, and remaining very spicy. It sort of builds up over time on you, and is a continuation of the bulk of the palate in general. There’s perhaps a whiff of cap gun caps right towards the end, but it’s very faint, with cough candy.
This Benrinnes 11yo is a bottle that i myself bought from Master of malt not so long ago. Now, i can be a little funny where sherry casks are concerned, i don’t like sulphur when it’s quite strong. So i have to be very picky when it comes to choosing a dram that’s spent any time in a sherry cask. This particular bottle sounded really good, and was a great price too.
Well in my humble opinion i picked a winner. For an 11 year old dram that was finished in an ex Oloroso cask it sure picked up plenty from that cask. From the off it’s full of exactly what you’d hope an ex Oloroso finished whisky would have. In fact it’s better than that in my opinion. The nose and palate have shed loads of dark fruits and spices, plenty of deep almost bitter notes. The mouth feel is also very nice indeed. It was a perfect pick for me, round peg, round hole, and for £50 an all naked Benrinnes! My only regret is that i didn’t buy two of them, though a 12 year old has now been released, perhaps from the same original spirit.
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