Benrinnes 19 1995 Old Malt Cask Hunter Laing

What was the occasion: It’s a whisky tasting. And it’s been 19 years since the Leafs made it past the first round of the playoffs… Wait, the night we drank this whisky, they made it…

Coincidence? Completely! Let’s move on!

What whisky did we review? Benrinnes 19 1995 Old Malt Cask Hunter Laing, a dusty.. Wait… 2014 was 9 years ago.

Alright I’m back from my cry, let’s continue.

So this is a dusty release of Benrinnes from Hunter Laing’s Old Malt Cask collection that was aged in a single ex-bourbon barrel, sold off to Hunter in what I assume was an old timey auction like you saw in cartoons and bottled up.

What’s the distillery? Benrinnes has been around since 1826 and at this point I’m running out of things to say about them. Originally they had malting floors, and then went to a Saladin box, but then in 1984 that was taken out and they stopped making their own malt. Also they used to do a partial triple distillation process up until 2007, so this particular Benrinnes is made using the old process, but if you have anything… 16 years or young with a vintage of 2007, then you’ll have the new process that uses two wash stills and four spirit stills.

Gonna have another quick cry as I realize how old I am.

What’s my bias? Sadness these days, but that’s a feeling of the world not really being a place where quality is celebrated anymore.

Oh, you meant for whisky, let me start over.

If I reach for a Benrinnes, it’s an ex-sherry one. Simply put, after doing a multi-review and trying them over the years, I have that bias. So we’re looking at another ex-Bourbon Benrinnes, and I have to tell myself to give it a chance. But I’ve been burned before.

The other thing is the process changed in 2007, and I’m having a hard time narrowing down how many Benrinnes whiskies I’ve had after the change. It might be one.

That all said, this is back when they used to do such a complicated process that attempting to write it down has hurt my heat-addled brain. Looks like I can be the coach for the Leafs soon.

Now that I’ve made every Torontonian cry and pout more than the Leafs themselves, let’s get to the whisky shall we?

Price: € 116

Region: Speyside

Vintage: May 1995

Bottled: June 2014

Cask type: Bourbon Barrel

Cask number: 10577

Number of bottles: 221

Abv: 50%

Colour: 5Y 9/8

Nose: Pear, grass, soap, earth

Bit of fruit, bit of grass, and some soap. Nothing too strong, but… I mean, I’m not hating this. Mostly because previous ex-Bourbon Bennrines (which you are required to say three times in a row, faster each time) had a note of raw cardboard.

That said, they had a bit more going on too. I can see why this was a dusty on the shelf, not a lost dram. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, it’s just the nose.

Taste: Gravel, cotton, grape, daisy

Earth, some softness, some grape, and a bit of floral. This is pretty easy drinking. Again, nothing too complex. If I had been the one to buy it then it was heavily discounted, what with my bias and all.

That said, I’ve had ex-Bourbon Benrinnes that were bad because of a soggy cardboard flavour, and that’s not showing up here. On the other hand, it’s not as complex as some less abv intense 18-year-old whiskies I’ve had, and that’s a little sad.

Finish: Rosemary, butter, ginger, vanilla

Hey, no rough cardboard, we have a close winner!

Well, close in the “this is fine” way, without the fire and the dog. This is just fine. Finish has some spice, butter, and a bit of herbal/floral aspects. No rough cardboard, but also not really blowing any minds.

Conclusion: Wow, a drinkable ex-Bourbon Benrinnes and the Leafs not getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs? Looks like I’m having a lucky night.

Honestly, with the way things are going sometimes, I take this as a huge win. Which is depressing, so let’s move on.

Should you buy this? Probably not unless you’re getting it at a discount or you love Benrinnes unconditionally or you need something to not offend. It’s not a bad Benrinnes in the same way that getting a head cold is better than Covid. It is, but you’re still sick.

Floral, bit fruity, nice to try, I can see why it languished on the shelf.


Scotch review #1635, Speyside review #467, Whisky Network review #2366

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