Benriach & Glendronach tasting on 10/12/15

nzth63u

Copy of original post on reddit: 10/12/15

This past December, Wine & Flavours, one of our few regular specialist liquor stores (of the small handful in Israel) held a really great tasting of the Glendronach range (12, 15, 18, 21 and a 19 year old single cask) as well as 2 Benriachs which the importer has started regularly distributing (Heart of Speyside NAS & 16)

The evening was really fun with good food and good company, but the real highlight came at the end when after tasting the 7 whiskies listed, the brand ambassador who’d just come in from Scotland said he had a surprise and pulled out a bottle of Benriach 35 year old. Needless to say it was a fantastic evening with a happier ending than a Thai massage.

In the order tasted:

Benriach Heart of Speyside

Aged 3 years*. 40% ABV. Matured in Bourbon casks. No colourant added.

*For lack of age statement

Nose: New make. Honey. Porridge. Bit of a herbal note.

Palate: Light woodspice. More porridge. More new make.

Finish: Short. More new make. Light spice. White wine tannins.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 3/5


Benriach 16

Aged 16 years. 43%ABV. Matured in Bourbon casks. No colourant added.

Nose: Honey. Light herbs. Dry grass. Pineapple in syrup. Light wood (balsa). Green banana. Apricots. Custard.

Palate: Sugary dried fruits. Banana. Bit of salt. Some woody vanilla. Icing sugar.

Finish: Medium. Bitter wood. Stewed fruit. Dry lemon. Hint of better espresso.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Maybe…

VFM: 3/5


Glendronach 12 Original

Aged 12 years. 43%ABV. Matured in PX and Oloroso Casks. No colourant added and non-chill filtered.

Nose: Stewed plums. Brandy. Brazil nuts. Mahogany. Light paprika. Nutmeg. Red fruits. Bit of floral with time.

Palate: Dry wood. Raisins. Prunes. Macadamia. Burned pecans.

Finish: Medium. Espresso. Bitter tannins. Bit of sweet figgy notes.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


Glendronach 15 Revival

Aged 15 years*. 46%ABV. Matured in Oloroso Casks. No colourant added and non-chill filtered. 

*Actually about 18 due to distillery being mothballed for a while and this being from older stocks

Nose: Dry sherry funk. Pecans. Figs. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. Wet leaves. Hint of sulphur. Prunes. Plum wine. Raisin bran.

Palate: Copper. Raisins. Fig jam. Bitter wood. Cough syrup.

Finish: Long-medium. Tannins. Dry wood. Sherry, actual. Woody nuts. Figs.

Would I buy this: Yes (at original market value not the crazy prices it’s being flipped for now)

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: N/A


Glendronach 18 Allardice

Aged 18 years. 46%ABV. Matured in Oloroso Casks. No Colourant added, non-chill filtered.

Nose: Rich wood. Sulphur. Cinnamon flavoring. Rum raisin ice cream. Mustard. Coriander. Plums. Varnish. Apple cinnamon quaker.

Palate: Bitter wood. Gooseberries. Plum jam. Woodspice. Bitters. Cloves. Sherry funk. Some orange peel.

Finish: Long. Menthol. Wood. Figs. Pecans. Cough syrup.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


Glendronach 21 Parliament

Aged 21 years. 48%ABV. Matured in PX and Oloroso Casks. No colourant added, non-chill filtered.

Nose: Px. Px. Px. Some toasted wood. Figs. Sticky raisins. Mahogany. Christmas pudding. Light cinnamon. Silan.

Palate: Matches. Black cough syrup. Aniseed. Camphor. Dried figs. Stewed fruit.

Finish: Long. Raisins. Acacia sap. Salted chocolate. Burned pecans.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


Glendronach 1995 Single Cask PX

Aged 19 years, 55%ABV. Matured in a PX. No colourant added, non-chill filtered, bottled at cask strength from cask no. 538.

Nose: Plums. Raisins. A cinnamon bun with raisins and icing. Fig jam. Silan. Wet leather. Dark aromatic woods. Dark red fruits. Little maple syrup.

Palate: Thick and sticky px. Woody nuts. Honey. Pecans. Candy apple.

Finish: Long. Cough syrup. Molasses. Wine cake.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: N/A


Benriach 35

Aged 35 years. 42.5%ABV. Matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks. No colourant added, non-chill filtered. 

Nose: Spearmint. Black tea. Milk chocolate. Bailey’s. Candied pineapple. Kiwi fruit. Wet stone. Peach iced tea. Raspberry sherbet. Pomegranate.

Palate: Bitter wood. Rose water. Anise. Strawberries. The nice glue.

Finish: Long. Bitter wood. Pomegranate juice. Pineapple juice.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5


Glendronach isn’t really my style, but I’m always willing to try new whiskies. Their range is very good in terms of quality. The 12 was quite sweet due to the PX influence, felt a tad unbalanced. The 15 and 18 were quite similar (in more than just profile 😉 ) ,classic sherried whisky, dry, fruity, though I found the 18 a good deal spicier. The 21 was nice, a sweeter dram and better balanced than the 12 by far. As for the single cask, I reviewed a similar cask a little while ago, same opinion, too sweet for my tastes but very good quality.

Now the Benriachs were more my thing. Heart of Speyside was pretty much new make with just enough barrel time to change colour. Leaving it at that. The 16 was nice. Loads of tropical fruit, floral notes and honey. Everything you’d expect from an ex bourbon speysider.

And the 35. Well. It was fantastic. Never worth the price asked, but fantastic. Bursting with all sorts of herbal and fruity notes which is surprising given its age, and so well balanced. Really made the night for all of us.

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