Benrinnes 27yo (49.9%, HL Old & Rare A Platinum Selection, Refill Butt, 137b): nose: unripe green grapes, wax (MS). This smells like a young whisky, which is disconcerting. Feint-y, spirit-y. Even the colour hints at it not being a long-aged whisky from a sherry cask. Probably a very inactive cask, or an n-th refill. Mouth: spirit-y again, with a tiny bit of turpentine. It is slightly more syrupy than the nose suggested, but it remains difficult to discern any sherry influence. Finish: warm rice tart, wood splinters, marzipan and the acidity of green grapes. The finish redeems it a bit. Overall, though, it is a huge disappointment. 5/10 (thanks LM for the sample)
Benrinnes 18yo 1971/1990 (55.3%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask): nose: allspice, black bun, Demerara sugar, sprinkled on dried fruit, then clove, cinnamon, ginger bread, precious wood and rancio -- sherry maturation at its best. Mouth: liquorice-y, fresh, yet also very hot -- watch the high strength! Pine wood, Suc des Vosges boiled sweet, perhaps even Fisherman's friends. The alcohol makes it feel almost mouthwash-y. It is that annihilating. Finish: wood, liquorice allsorts, black liquorice laces. This has bitterness too, with notes of old leather. Later on and with a drop of water, the Demerara sugar comes back. Very intense, this. Not too dissimilar to a Karuizawa, based on my little experience of that Japanese distillery. 7/10
That concludes our Campbeltown adventures. Tomorrow, the long and sad journey home.