Whisky Sponge Benrinnes 1997

Posted 11 August 2021 by Matt / In Benrinnes
The Dramble reviews Whisky Sponge Benrinnes 1997 23 year old

Bottle Name: Benrinnes 1997

ABV: 53%
Distillery: Benrinnes
Bottler: Whisky Sponge
Region: Speyside Age: 23

Benrinnes is one of Zander’s favourite distilleries. I must find out where he’s up to – we’ve been missing his content on The Dramble for some time now. This Sponge rinnes has been matured in a 1st fill sherry hogshead and taken on substantive colour to a point where I suspect this edition sold out based on its hue alone.   

Nose: Dusty, dark, fathomless sherry. Rum-soaked raisins, unrefined brown sugars and a selection of leather armchairs, parquet flooring and pirate’s long lost treasure chests. Orange preserves and cinnamon-spiced plums provide a welcome lift, whilst metholated oak is joined by near sooty, charred cask innards. Reduction presents dark honey and demerara sugar alongside crystalline orange peels and dusty library furniture.

Taste: Bombs away chaps. Cherries and plums sits with dark chocolate, menthol-imbued tobacco and a slab of well-soaked fruit cake. Balsamic drizzled berries and tanned leather are joined by burnt toast and charred oakiness. The addition of water is exceptionally transformative – there’s a lot less punch and overt, intense sherried sugariness – and rather more of a prettier, spirit-forward profile favouring glace cherries, orange gel and a touch of residual ham meatiness. Ah, there’s the Benrinnes.

Finish: Long with balsamic sharpness, minty mentholated oak and some pretty drying tannins.

One for the sherry freaks. Whilst there’s arguably plenty of harmony and deliciousness throughout this Whiskysponge Benrinnes, the 1st fill sherry has taken a very firm grip throughout. Indeed, it is likely only because of the distillate’s inherent weight and profile, that this is able to present quite such a melodious tune. I found the addition of water quite beneficial here – sherryheads will no doubt prefer this stronger, darker and more brooding. And as such, if you fall into that category, add a couple of points to my score.

Score: 85/100

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