Benrinnes 14 Year Single Cask 1998 Master of Malt

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Distillery/Brand: Benrinnes
Region: Speyside
ABV: 55%
Color: Deep Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 22

Review
The guys over at Master of Malt are quite accomplished independent bottlers and their range of self-titled single cask releases are supposed to be quite delightful.

So I was glad to finally make acquaintance with this 14 year old sherried Speysider from Benrinnes.

Distilled in 1998 it spent 14 years in a sherry butt before being bottled at 55% as one of 570 bottles. And I tell you this is a damn fine whisky.

Nose: Lemony sweet and sharp watermelon at first. Allow it to breathe for a dollop of warm toffee, cloves and cinnamon. There are rum soaked bananas sprinkled with salt and lovely drying Vermouth.

Palate: Citrus first and then a chocolate spice rack on the heels of stewed peaches and red grapes. The flavors are on point and made that much more intense with the high alcohol strength and that much more delicious with the creamy mouthfeel.

Finish: Gorgeously long with lip smacking spices.

This is quite a fantastic drop and just goes to show how good the guys over at Master of Malt really are.

Rating: 90

Oban 14

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Distillery/Brand: Oban
Region: Highland
ABV: 43%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 21
Finish: 20
Balance: 21

Review
This is a barely average West Highland malt from this small distillery in the coastal town of, yes you guessed it, Oban. Funnily enough it was the distillery that was first named and the town that sprang up around it which decided to take the same name.

But that’s the only thing interesting about this malt, frankly.

OK, so the nose isn’t so bad. It’s quite fruity actually. Papaya and banana fruity with a touch of husky musk. The nuts come next and bring with it a pinch of salt. Let it breathe and it takes on an interesting Sauvignon Blanc quality. Becomes drier and a touch more apricot fruity.

The palate could have done better, in my opinion. It’s the same papaya and apricot sugars with a touch of mild white peppers. Maybe some nuts. Possibly some marzipan. But all of it lacking any real complexity and attitude.

The finish completes the journey downhill as it evaporates in a puff of boring butterscotch. Oh well…

Rating: 85