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BenRiach 15 yo ‘Solstice’ (2011, OB, 50%)

We tasted this whisky at the last Spirit of Scotland festival, during a masterclass held by Pellegrini, an Italian importer. We welcomed positively the pairing “peated BenRiach” and “finish in Port pipes”… Now we must check if our first opinion is confirmed. The color is the standard Port finish nuance: ruby.

bnrob.15yov3

N: it’s a well dosed whisky, designed and engineered in order to show intense, crisp and people-plasey flavors. That doesn’t mean it’s an unpleasant dram at all. An image haunts our imagination: smoked strawberry jelly! The smokiness is strong and it increases with time, with a medicinal peat that reminds us Listerine mouthwash. Good amount of licorice; instead, the bourbon maturation is almost impossible to detect (not an ounce of vanilla here). There’s a winey and fruity layer which comes from the finish: strawberries (jam and jellies), damp oak and mixed spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). Everything is so bursting that shades and in-betweens are not allowed.

P: the palate is a copy of the nose, without any quality loss. Mind you, the style is rather particular and you have to love it… Suddenly you taste a harsh and intense smoke; thick notes of burnt wood, mecidinal hints again. The fortified wine’s sweetness brings suggestions of red fruits and candies. We’re surprised by a clear flavor of chestnut flour.

F: ditto.

As usual, after the review was written, we read Serge’s one and ours seems to be a copy… We feel like such good disceples of the Mustached Master: same sensations, same evaluation: 84/100 for a very “modern” whisky. It’s engineered more than natural, but it’s well engineered. You can’t find a huge variety of notes here, but every flavor or taste you can identify is very intense, bold and high quality. Zero nuances, zero traces of 14 years spent in a bourbon cask, ok. But it’s tasteful.

Recommended soundtrack: Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back, a hip hop classic celebrating the ass…

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