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Friday, May 1, 2020

Benrinnes 15 year old Flora & Fauna (bottled 2017)

And then there was Benrinnes. From 1974 until 2007, Benrinnes shared some similarities with its Diageo stablemate Mortlach. It had an unorthodox distillation process that resulted in more than two passes through the stills, resulting in a meaty and occasionally sulfurous malt that often found a popular home in sherry casks. As with Mortlach, Benrinnes can be quite lovely when aged in bourbon casks, where it ditches some of the darkness for a good dose of fruit. This Flora & Fauna, though, is 100% sherry cask. Which brings back to the first sentence. And then there was Benrinnes.

Distillery: Benrinnes
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Ownership: Diageo
Range: Flora and Fauna
Age: at least 15 years
Maturation: sherry casks
Bottling date: 2017
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Caramel Colorant? Yes

The nose is earthy and leafy with a bit of dunnage, something toasty, some wildflowers, a wet dog, maybe some limes and a lot of French onion soup. The palate makes less sense than the nose. There's plastic, sugar, burnt veg, generic tanginess, something industrial, plenty of umami and a Vegemite sandwich. The finish is similar to the palate with more metallic sulphur, umami and smoke. And a Vegemite sandwich.

With a dirty-spirit-meets-dirty-casks style, this Benrinnes gets points for being its own ogre. It's plenty weird and none of the characteristics work together. It's less of a piece of industrial art and more like a watery puddle of robot vomit. It's also better than the Auchroisk. I don't understand it either. I think I'm done with the Flora & Fauna series forever.

Availability - Europe
Pricing - $50-$70, ex VAT
Rating - 72 (maybe, I don't know)

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