Well-priced Benrinnes drawn from a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel and aged 11 years. Sweet & Spicy profile.
Nose: Sugared rhubarb and cherry syrup are joined by raspberry cordial and sappy wood for merger of fruity spirit and wood. There’s a slight unripe tropicalness here – something like Rhum Agricole – leafty, green, naturally sweet. In the background – potpourri and rosewater alongside coconut shavings and herbal tea. Water adds glace cherries and pomegranate as well as an unexpected chalky like mineral dust that’s hard to pinpoint – slightly mineral but still sweet – an explosion in granulated sugar factory perhaps?!
Taste: A punchy arrival that leads to a great development. Zingy fruits are demi-sweet with some natural tartness heightened by a dusting of lemon sherbet. This progresses into soft planed wood before becoming sweeter and more tropically focussed – guava and pineapple. Finally, fruitiness subsides back into oak – youthful, sappy and with both pepper and salt seasoning. Interesting. Reduction sends this a little over the edge in terms of woodiness – rather dry and somewhat tannic.
Finish: Medium with dusty pepper, drying with a chalky mouthfeel.
This Benrinnes is a bit on the strange side, but I have to praise the development on the palate, which provides a truly interesting journey from sweetness into tartness and wood and then back again. Alas, this is rather hydrophobic, either expressing too much wood, or adding in some quite unusual aromas which don’t truly mesh as a whole. Eccentric, but well worth going on the expedition at least once.