glenlossie glendullan benrinnes the ultimate van wees

Glendullan / Glenlossie / Benrinnes (The Ultimate)

Do I take The Ultimate for granted? This Dutch independent bottler can claim well over 1,000 releases since its inception in the early 1990s. A large chunk of them were released after I launched this website over a decade ago, yet I’ve featured less than a dozen releases. And I am based in the Netherlands. The Ultimate is everywhere.

It sure seems like I’ve overlooked The Ultimate, an independent label from importer and distributor Van Wees. When I first started documenting my whisky journey online, their heavily-sherried Longmorn 1996 were all the rage. I remember they bottled wonderful whisky from Imperial as well. And some proper Ledaig too. As well as decent Tamdhu. Their range of Edradour was popular, albeit very extreme.

The thing about The Ultimate is that they almost never quite bottle exceptional whisky. Almost always good, sometimes average, and rarely below par. But barely ever truly transcendent. The Ultimate is reliable, only sometimes exciting. And that’s probably why they haven’t featured more.

Not often do I feel the urge to track down their whiskies. Until recently that is, when I first realised I probably should pay them more attention. The Ultimate is an gateway independent bottler. And I mean that in the best way possible. Their whiskies are generally affordable, as is the case for the three recent releases I’m reviewing today.

First up is a Glendullan 2009 13 Years, a small batch release from two bourbon hogsheads. That’s followed by a single cask Glenlossie 2012 10 Years, also from a bourbon hogshead. Finally, I’ll take a closer look at a new Benrinnes 2012 10 Years. Another small batch whisky, this time from three first-fill bourbon hogsheads.

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Glendullan 2009 13 Years (46%, The Ultimate, C#315683/86)

Nose: Spent grains and wort, alongside a touch of porridge, but also a whiff of Galia melon, quince, rhubarb and slices of papaya. Then some oak char, lawn clippings, digestives and scones.
Taste: Quite a rich mouthfeel. Building upon the foundations of the nose, its maltiness is rather excellent. Also a pinch of white pepper, some powdered sugar and lemon zest, alongside green olives, vanilla and cloves.
Finish: Medium length. Fruity esters, warming spices, sugar and a touch of eucalyptus.

A rather neat little malt this. The Glendullan 2009 13 Years from The Ultimate is as straight-forward as they come, and it is all the better for it. I also suspect the reduced alcohol percentage is very beneficial.

glenlossie 2012 10 years the ultimate van wees 7064

Glenlossie 2012 10 Years (46%, The Ultimate, C#7064)

Nose: Very light. Too light maybe. Although… A sliver of barley husks accompanied by some gentle orchard fruits, sourdough, pastry cream and soft floral elements. It’s simple, but enjoyable.
Taste: A bit thin. Or at least thinner than the Glendullan. Some cloves, nutmeg and vanilla. Touches of pear skin. Crisp apple too. Also a whisper of liquorice.
Finish: Short to medium. A tad bitter, chalk, some peppermint and pine nuts.

There’s really good Glenlossie to be had, but I’m not sure this is one. Decent enough, but also somewhat boring and nothing about it quite stands out.

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Benrinnes 2012 10 Years (46%, The Ultimate, C#31147/57/59)

Nose: Quite warming and sweet initially, with notes of sandalwood, meringue and marzipan. But much more lively and fruitier after a while. Juicy grapes, lemon zest, peaches and stewed apples, accompanied by light floral notes.
Taste: Mouthfeel is creamy. Waxy almost, and quite bready. Notes of melted butter, honey, ripe banana and crème caramel. There is some allspice, ginger and young oak lurking, but it’s not problematic at all. The sweet, yellow fruits make sure of that.
Finish: Medium length. Lingering fruits. A slight dryness. Wisp of chalk too.

A convincing entry from Benrinnes. The first-fill hogsheads certainly played a major role, but the fruity, meaty distillate and its mouthfeel contribute wonderfully.

Photos: Whiskybase

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