Benriach 22 Cadenhead’s Rum Cask 1992
Appearance: 0.2, Pale Straw
Nose: Rich barley sugar and cereal notes, some licorice, menthol, under-ripe pears. A bit flat in terms of depth and body.
Taste: Quite malty and grainy, there is definitely a note of bitter molasses, hint of ash, orange blossom honey, vanilla and icing sugar, very faint spearmint note.
Finish: Somewhat thin, the ash comes out again, some malty sweetness. Pretty flat and short.
Notes: This whisky strikes me as an example of where a cask finish was used to try to paint over a poor initial maturation. The profile is lacking in complexity and body, and I don’t think the rum cask did much to save it. It seems to have added a bit of a bitter molasses and ash note, which doesn’t bolster it like a heavy wine cask finish would. This definitely does not taste like a 22 year old whisky; more like a 12-14 year old. Overall, this is a miss for me sadly.
Benriach Single Cask, 1992, 22 Years, Cask 976, Tawny Port Finish
Appearance: 1.5, Auburn
Nose: Big time chocolate and coffee, cherries and dates, cappuccino ice cream, dunnage and slightly damp old wood, menthol.
Taste: Red plums, barley sugar, honey, cherry cough syrup, very thick and weighty on the palate, hints of mint chocolate ice cream, espresso coffee cake, chocolate covered coffee beans, and rum.
Finish: A bit tart, menthol, red fruits and golden syrup, mocha. Long.
Notes: Now this is what I’m talking about. This has the typical heavy notes from a red wine finished whisky, but with some really interesting coffee/mint elements that add a neat accent (and also provide some uniqueness). The base spirit is also very weighty which helps the whisky not be overwhelmed by the cask influence. Really beefy and complex, but balanced and refined.