Oct 1, 2017

Benriach 15yo Pedro Ximenez Sherry Wood Finish...

Benriach 15yo Pedro Ximenez Sherry Wood Finish (46.0%): It looks like after the acquisition of Benriach by Brown-Forman the distributor in US decided to clear all the old bottles from their inventory... All of a sudden bottlings from the old line-up started to hit the shelves with pretty moderate prices. That's how this bottle found its way to my whisky cabinet last month with a few other single cask expressions from the same distillery... The whisky is matured in ex-bourbon barrels before it got transferred to Pedro Ximenez sherry butts for a final maturation.

Color: Light amber, red gold with very thin legs.

Nose: Thin and subtle... Maybe a little too weak. Raisins, Nivea moisturizing cream and Lipton red fruits tea. Whipped cream, cranberry juice and red apple skins. Moist fruit cake and very distant and faint oak aromas. A few drops of water bring up strangely sharp alcohol aromas like it is a very young whisky. Odd, I really didn't see that coming...

Palate: Less sweet and quite spicy than you would expect from a (any) PX finish. Dried cranberries and black pepper. Over brewed hibiscus tea and dried papaya. Dusty, tart and strangely bitter... Plastic water bottles, fresh ginger and pipe tobacco. Water didn't improve the palate at all... On the contrary it just amplified the oaky and peppery notes to a very unpleasant level.

Finish: Medium long and mouth watering with white pepper and crystallized ginger candy. Bitter and plasticky... 

Overall: Well, it's definitely not the poster child of PX finishes...  To begin with if you are after the sweet and textured qualities of a PX cask finished whisky these are not the casks you are looking for. To be honest I wasn't looking for any of those qualities but it didn't work me either. It starts with a weak but somehow decent nose with moderately sweet aromas but it just doesn't develop further or go anywhere from there... It's thin, plasticky and bitter. It is drinkable but I would take the regular Benriach 12 or 16 from the old line-up over this bottle anytime, anywhere.

Price: $50