Totally changed my mind at the last minute for this review. It was all planned out and written up and ready to be blogged out, and you will see the fruits of those labours eventually but my mood has taken me somewhere else, somewhere independent, somewhere cask strength.
I have got the urge to talk about independent bottlers. For those of you that are new to whisky, in layman’s terms an independent bottler does not own a distillery; they own casks. They buy casks from different distilleries and mature them for however long they want and release them at whatever ever age they see fit. They are a window into some distilleries true make up as they are often released at cask strength without chill filtration to showcase the Scotch at its uninhibited best. The biggest of these is Gordon and MacPhail based in Elgin. If you want to try your first independent bottling I’d go for these guys as they consistently release a great product. Naturally one of the drawbacks of an independent release is that sometimes they vary from release to release, especially Single Cask editions. These are bottlings that are drawn from just one single cask and so vary in quality from cask to cask; so it’s important to make a note of what cask you enjoyed if you want to try the same whisky again.
As a generic rule independent bottlings tend to be cheaper than their official distillery partners. There are 2 in my collection from the top of my head, a Scapa 14 that I got for £45 and a Jura 21 that I picked up for £75; that are both independent bottlings, for the same official distillery releases for purchase you are looking at £65 and over £100 respectively.
So as you develop on your whisky journey I’d really suggest going for an indy bottling, some may disappoint you but quite often they can surprise you and unearth the true heart of a Scottish malt.
Now to James Eadie.
James Eadie was a beer brewer based in Scotland who branched out, as it was very fashionable in those days, into releasing their own blended whisky in the late 1800’s. The brand was revived in the late 2000’s by his great X3 grandson and a whisky investment firm and they started buying up casks to sell on as indy bottlings and to also reproduce the recipe for the old blended scotch. They are relatively small in comparison to Gordon and MacPhail but that doesn’t mean they are not focussing on quality.
I picked up my bottle of Benrinnes 13 from Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh, its 56.1%abv and is finished in Maderia casks.
Nose: Starts of with a raisin fudge note but with addition of water its more of a fruit and nut bar, Cadburys fudge bar.
Palate: That high abv does linger but still carries the raisins and tea loaf flavours through. Adding water really makes it come alive though. Nutmeg and cinnamon; spiced fruit loaf or a steamed pudding
Finish: A slight bitterness, High cocoa dark chocolate bitterness. Holds itself there long after the dram is gone. Even more water and there’s a citrus orange note on the finish.
Overall a good dram, one for an after dinner tipple. A solid whisky.
All views are my own.
Bottle bought from Royal Mile Whiskies for £61.95
For Thinkers. For Drinkers. For Fun.