Benrinnes 25 Cadenhead’s Authentic

Benrinnes 25 Cadenheads 2

This last week we’ve seen quite a bit about dreams in the media, given the amazing speech by Lupita Nyong’o. While I’m not up for an Oscar (yet), nor do we really have any awards or what not on /r/Scotch[1] after you cross over the 100 review mark, I’m quite proud of coming closer to my dream, which is to keep writing.

This is my 150th Scotch review, and my 205th alcohol review overall. Writing these reviews, with my silly anecdotes and challenges to myself, from quoting Shakespeare to making jokes about my sexuality, continues to be amazing fun, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. This is one of the best things I get to do, so thank you to the whole damn Whisky network for being a great place where I can do this.

As such, I thought I’d make this special, so I’m reviewing a dram from the distillery that is can’t get anything right (note this is sarcasm): Benrinnes 25 Cadenhead’s Authentic. I picked this up last year in Scotland, directly from Cadenhead’s in Edinburgh.

If you are in Edinburgh, you need to go into Cadenhead’s. They are some of the nicest and well stocked chaps ever. And the oldest independent bottler in Scotland. It’s bottled at Cask Strength, no colour added, and non chill-filtered.

Benrinnes Distillery has been active now for 200 years, and is well known up until 2007 for a partial triple distillation process (whatever that was [seriously, I read how it works, and now I’ve done cross eyed]). They are mostly used in blends, particularly J&B and Johnnie Walker.

Benrinnes 25 Cadenheads 1

Price: N/A in Ontario

Region: Speyside

Distilled: 1988

Bottled: July 2013

Cask Type: Bourbon Hogshead

Abv: 53%

Colour: Light yellow

Nose: Candy corn, lemon, toffee, grain, ginger, mango, white cake, cardamon

The initial smell is that of a young, very young, like “Have a Seat over Here” young Bourbon. As I give it a bit longer to breathe, the sweetness takes on a cakey and spicy note, which is quite nice.

My wife, who has a sip of every dram I test, initially thought this was super young, and that I was feeding her an 8 year old whisky again.

Taste: Cardamon, cinnamon, yeast, lemon, ginger, cantaloupe, electric, apple, cocoa, coffee

Spicy. Extremely spicy. And it gives off that amazing electric taste when you have something interesting. It’s hard to describe, it just lights up the tongue. I had it once with a $100 bottle of red wine, and I’ve had it with some whiskies. It’s a magical place.

That said, it’s really all about the spices (baby), and unfortunately they dominate just a little too much, leaving only the yeasty flavour to stand out.

Finish: Sour cherry, ginger, lemongrass, metal, sesame, umami, dry, soda water, brown sugar

Very complex finish. Starts off sour and herbal/floral, has a metallic tang to it, eventually becomes dry and has a lot of umami, and then eventually comes back with some sweetness.

I know sometimes I pour doubles to review, and this is one of the few times it was truly warranted. Very hard to tease out the different flavours in the finish.

Conclusion: The finish on this is fucking mental, in a good way, like Ozzy. It’ll take a long time to figure it all out. And the nose is like a young bourbon, which is nuts. However the taste…. it’s like they took a Speyside, and tried to make it into a Cambelton, and didn’t quite make it. I think it needs some more fruit, or something to really punch it up. It’s nice, and I didn’t hate it, however… well, I think it’s worth trying.


Scotch review #150, Speyside #46, Whisky Network review #196

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