Mar 122017

Diageo’s Speyside workhorse, this distillery is one that produces mainly for blends. Anybody who’s had a Johnnie Walker, has had Benrinnes whisky.

Benrinnes is a special distillery even today, despite cutting out the partial triple distillation in the style of Mortlach and Springbank, as it still uses worm tub condensers (alongside several other Diageo distilleries like Talisker, Oban, Cragganmore, Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, and Glen Elgin, as well as ONE of Springbank’s three stills), with water that’s kept particularly cold. Another feature is clear wort, which then goes into a relatively long fermentation (at least 60 hours) in wooden washbacks.

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The partial triple distillation is evident in the distillery setup, as it has two sets of one large wash still (20,000 liter capacity) and two spirit stills (5,500 liter). Nowadays, the wash still run is simply divided and then charged into the two spirit stills, for a traditional double distillation, very much like Glengoyne works with their three stills.

This is part of a ten single cask release by Specialty Drinks’ Single Malts of Scotland brand. This release includes two 1988 casks , from Bunnahabhain and Tormore, a Glenrothes 1989, two Ledaigs (11 year old sherry butt, an older sister to a bottle I picked up at the 2015 Whisky Show, and 12 year old bourbon hogshead), and five more expressions ranging from a 1992 Bruichladdich to a 2007 Glen Moray. I’ll be reviewing these releases over the next few weeks. I chose to start with the Benrinnes as the least seen of these distilleries, although the Glenburgie and Miltonduff don’t lag too far behind on this criterion.

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Benrinnes 20 Year Old 1995, Hogshead #9057 – Single Malts of Scotland (51.1% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Amber, droplets come off the necklace very slowly and in thin, long lasting legs.

Nose:  Perfume-y and floral notes of carnations, with honey and a somewhat dusty dryness. Fresh hay and some freshly ground peppercorns round it out. Some time in the glass strengthens the honey

Palate: Sweet and honeyed, with pepper and fresh orange juice and a hint of fresh pear.

Linger: Spicy and sweet, with a very long lingering dryness. The spice remains on the roof of the mouth for a long time, and has a fun tingle.


This is a great selection of a cask, with quite a bit to explore, although at 51.5% ABV, I’m a little loath to add water.

Jul 062015

I think Benrinnes is one of the distilleries with the largest number of unaware drinkers in the world. You get some Benrinnes in every bottle of Johnny Walker, thus by exension, it has a huge number of drinkers. Yet, I’m not sure that every malthead had the opportunity to have a Benrinnes single malt, as the bottlings are relatively few and far between.

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Named for a nearby mountain, Benrinnes was owned by John Dewar and Sons, and came into the United Distillers portfolio with them, but was not sold on to Bacardi by Diageo. The distillery was separated from other Speyside distilleries by its process. Until 2007, Benrinnes was partially triple distilled.

There have only been five official bottlings of Benrinnes by UD/Diageo. The only regular bottling was a 15 year old Flora and Fauna in 1991, and there have been several Special Releases, including one Rare Malt Selection in 1996 and a 23 year old and a 21 year old Special Releases in 2009 and 2014 respectively.

This is an independent bottling of a 26 year old single cask Benrinnes by The Bottlers. This is a stunning refill sherry butt at cask strength which will tickle and old sherry loves’s fancy.

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Benrinnes 1982, 26 Year Old by The Bottlers, Refill Sherry Butt #3229 (57.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Dark Mahogany, slow and thin legs.

Nose: Deepest sherry and oak. High alcohol on nose. This dram really needs water. Notes of a dusty spice store, old leather, tobacco, a lot of oak on the nose, light notes of furniture polish. Water tones down the polish and brings out the classic old sherry, tobacco leaf. Harsh without water and a true stunner with it.

Palate: Very powerful oak to the point of overpowering the malt without water. A lot of old sherry, concentrated dried fruit, spicy with pepper and ground cinnamon with a lot of tannins and tobacco. Satisfyingly mouth drying!

Linger: Long overall with sweet and oaky notes with some polish and mild spice in the gullet. Dried fruit concentrate, sweet on the cusp of woody with some metallic note.


Fabulous dram. Water is your friend here! I think this might have been even more of a stunner given slightly less time in the cask, but we’re splitting hairs here. This is an absolute stunner, and if you come across it, pick up a bottle.

Yet another stunner from Ishai!!! Thanks, man!