So, another December, another Blind Tasting Competition. Based on previous editions, I’m going in without hope of a decent finish. I know I suck at this kind of thing, this blind tasting of whisky. It’s not how I drink whisky, and I probably never will.
As I realized this summer, when doing the Blog Birthday Bash. In the blind BYO tasting someone recognized my Springbank Local Barley instantly. I am not even able to do that with my own whiskies, let alone with the total randomness that is the BTC. Apparently my scent and flavor memory is pretty shit, which is a curious thing to say when running a whisky blog in which I post tasting notes on a regular basis.
What I’m trying to say is not that I cannot recognize the flavor of bread, apple or raisins, but that my association for those scents does not link to spirits and distilleries. Contrary to some guys who keep winning the competition. Kudos to them.
Anyway, the first whisky…
Soft vanilla is the first scent I get from the glass, closely followed by fresh grass and hay. Some field flowers like poppies for a bit of aromatics, with a slightly waxy note. Some green notes in ferns and moss.
The palate is slightly drier but keeps the grassy and hay like flavors. It’s not very sharp but it’s also not without a bit of bite. Quite light but the flavors are rather outspoken. I now get a bit of oak, but soft oak, freshly cut.
The finish is rich and smooth, with the same flavors of before, but the vanilla and grass is a bit more outspoken than the green, leafy notes or the oak.
The smoothness and the notes of grass and flowers made me think of Lowlands and Speyside. However, it was a bit too heavy on the nose for a Lowlands whisky for me.
The grassy notes and slightly sweet flowers made me think of Glen Elgin, which was my guess. Because it’s a bit of a green whisky I figured it wasn’t too old. I didn’t have a warm up dram so the slight sharpness I attributed to me being not warmed up and I guessed 46%.
It turned out to be a Benrinnes (20 points for the correct region) at 18 years old (0 points) and 50% ABV (0 points). A great start… Also, it indicates that Benrinnes is a very flexible spirit since I’ve had quite a few of them over the years and I find it hugely varying from dram to dram.
Benrinnes 1997-2016, 18 years old, Bourbon barrel 906, 50%, Whiskybroker. It used to cost about 70 euros. (link)