...and the result is astonishing. These two (most probably sister) casks own very different profiles - while the 20y is rather simple-sweet only (but nevertheless very quaffable) the 21y offers a complex and very interesting profile that is quite different in the nose and on the palate. And it is even more quaffable than the 20y old, actually I like it very much. One of the best Benrinnes I had so far and certainly a fine Traditional Scotch style dram...
The colour of the 21y is one shade darker at amber while the 20y is at old gold. The 21y's nose offers certainly a different profile compared to the very sweet nose of the 20y. The 21y shows a strong shoe-polish-alike aroma first that vanishes after some breathing and provides room for a honey-candlewax combo with hints of citric fruits (lime). Later some medicinal impressions of new (unused) bandages and gauze pads develop while the honeys crystallise to sugars. A very interesting and unusual nose and hey - I like it! By the way, the nose of the 20y is much more simplier (and easier) on mainly honeys and sugars.
The taste of the 21y offers a completely different profile compared to its nose with loads of fruity-sweet and vanilla-toffee flavours in an appropriate but never dominating wooden structure. Later honeys, spices and fine oily notes join in before some sour-bitter lemons (or lime) counter the sweetness. No medicinal or shoe-polish flavours here, all is flawless and pretty balanced. What a difference to the rather simple sugary taste of the 20y (that is not bad either).
The 21y arrives warming and coating on the palate with a minor drying feeling (cold metals, green tea) that is rather enjoyable in combination with the sweet flavours. The finish is long and extends the delicious taste while adding some more bitter impressions of tea and cold ashes (that never get unpleasant). No drying-astringent moments here (like towards the end of the 20y) but a minor cardboardy feeling that pops up after the dram is gone. Water releases more aromas in the nose and flavours on the palate of the 21y turning this dram even more interesting and quaffable - I like the 21y both neat and somewhat reduced. Forget about water with the 20y because it just turns the whisky more bitter.