Yours truly was presenting the lineup, and boy, let me tell you, as someone who didn’t pick the whiskies and has had a few ex-Bourbon Benrinnes, I was a bit concerned. You see… Benrinnes is big because of how nicely ts pairs in sherry. Ex-bourbon casks have this issue that they aren’t sherry.
Some of their ex-bourbon ones have this cardboard note that I, and most non-Guinea pigs, aren’t the biggest fans of.
So when I announced the first whisky (which has very few to no reviews online at the time of having the tasting) as Benrinnes 19 1996 Carn Mor Strictly Limited, I was a bit concerned and conflicted.
Conflicted because so far I’ve had some nice Carn Mor picks. They’ve been doing a great job, based on what few I’ve had.
So here we are. A less than cask strength version from Carn Mor’s entry-level “Strictly Limited” series, with no colouring, no chill filtering, and from two ex-bourbon casks. But does it taste good?
Price: Brought in by a private collector
Matured in: Bourbon Barrel
A strictly limited bottling of only: 423 Bottles from 2 Casks
Colour: 7.5Y 9/8
Nose: Grass, floral vanilla, caramelized lime, ginger
Alright… I’m relaxing a bit more. It’s grassy. Note I’m reviewing this for the first time in front of people. Perhaps dressed up like I’m the main character from Corner Gas.
Nice floral notes, it’s sweet and there’s a good amount of spice to balance it all out. It is lighter than I’d hope. If you’re coming in expecting a bombastic whisky, a la sherried Benrinnes, then you’re going to have a bad time.
Taste: Apple, vinegar, ginger, lemon, orange pop
Alright, still no cardboard. Good going. I’m able to have nice talks with people and they aren’t demanding my head. Oh the life of someone who isn’t paid for this at all.
Nice apple, some sharp vinegar notes, and lots of acidity. From the dram, not the people. Time gives more of a sugar-laden soda pretending to have Vitamin C. Or tasty.
Finish: Toasted oak, hot, ginger, pepper, pear
Immediate wine-like finish, hot, lots more spices and pear. If the rest of the dram is on the better side of ex-bourbon casks, this is where things start to dissolve away. It’s a strong, hot mess of a dram at the end.
It doesn’t turn you off completely, but it ain’t doing any favours to the stigma.
Conclusion: So for our first dram we had a floral, light whisky that didn’t anger the people I was presenting to. That’s pretty nice.
If you enjoy Lowlands, then this drams for you. Purely light, opening, and a good way to start really anything, be it a whisky tasting or a children’s concert (you’re only drinking if you’re above the legal age). It doesn’t fall into the pitfalls of other ex-bourbon Benrinnes, save for the end where it’s a tad hot. And simple. And hot. Mostly hot.
By the end, I was able to relax and really enjoy this one. I passed along my thoughts on how this is an exception to the rule, and hope that we see Benrinnes filling sherry casks (and perhaps some white and red wine casks) instead moving forward.
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