Blind Tasting #1: Benrinnes 1997 18 Years Old (Whiskybroker)
What a day yesterday was. Quite a long day actually. I spent most of my time in a beautiful castle about an hour away from home, participating in a whisky test for a Dutch television program. A new experience for me, but lots of fun. I’m very much looking forward to see the end result, which’ll be airing in a little over a week.
Then, when I arrived at home at around 9 PM, it was time to taste even more whisky. I still had to submit my entry for the first sample of the Blind Tasting Competition. I had tasted it before, but nothing quite clicked. However, with a glass in one hand, and Apple’s Magic Mouse in the other, I scrolled through previous notes I’ve written. When I arrived at Auchentoshan, I had an aha moment.
Finally I went with an Auchentoshan released earlier this year by a small Dutch bottler, which I actually also reviewed before. Choosing a Speyside distillery would’ve been a safer bet, because there are many more distilleries there. Turns out, Speyside is the way I should’ve gone, because this is what it turned out to be.
Benrinnes 1997 18 Years Old (50%, Whiskybroker, C# 906)
Nose: Very light and malty, with some sweet, sugary breakfast cereals and vanilla. There’s also room for some fresh fruits, like Golden Reinette and peach, but also some lime. The fruitiness is what make it stand out, but it is also slightly floral.
Taste: Nice and creamy mouthfeel. Honey, with a peppery arrival, oak and lingering spices (cloves). A whiff of underripe banana. There’s something annoyingly recognizable here.
Finish: The fruitiness returns in the finish, with room for ripe apple and finally some grassiness. Medium in length.
A surprisingly fresh and light Benrinnes. Comparing my note to the one I’d written earlier for the Auchentoshan, there are quite a few similarities. But in the end, they’re not at all the same. I only picked up 5 points for my guess of the abv. Not exactly a great score, but at least I’m no longer at zero 🙂
Fellow Dutch blogger Sjoerd is also taking part in the Blind Tasting Competition. Here you can read how he’s doing.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.