...and it does! I wonder what Benrinnes did differently during the nineties to produce such fine spirits but finally I do not care - I like it. This is best bang for your bucks if you are into the rather old traditional style of Scotch whisky (meaning distillate-driven instead of wood-driven, a complex and balanced profile instead of heavy flavour spikes, and an age statement - of course!). I bought another bottle...
The colour is amber and the nose offers a rich and powerful sweet honeyed profile that is very delicious to sniff despite it is not very complex. After some breathing lush overripe fruits (banana, oranges, cantaloupe) join the honeys and turn the nose even more sweet before finally the spices and herbs of the wood set a welcomed counterpoint. The longer I sniff the more aromas pop up, among them earthy (forest soil), beeswaxy and chalky-mineral notes. Hey, this is not bad for an 18-years old! Actually, I really like to nose this mix (especially after 15-20 minutes of breathing time).
The taste is layered on different honeys and rather bitter fruits (bitter oranges, lime) first that form an interesting combo. Later toffee and caramel notes join in that combine to a nutty milk chocolatey impression over time. The spices come late but powerful with peppers, ginger, cardamon and others but the next layer soothes them again with fine oily and waxy notes. This is all quite harmonic and balanced and very interesting to explore - ooh, and it is greatly chewable. Water releases more earthy aromas and impressions of a dunnage warehouse in the nose while it turns the taste more bitter-nutty (almonds) with a touch of burnt caramel (crème brûlée). Actually, I like to nose and drink this dram both neat and reduced at various levels - it is an excellent swimmer so play around with water to find your perfect drinking strength...
The dram arrives warming and creamy on the palate and instantly covers the whole of the mouth with a fine coating without distracting moments. This is a pretty good mouthfeel! The finish is long and adds some interesting flavours of autumn floral aromas and herbs (dry sunflowers, haystacks and the like). The spices stay in tune with the sweetness of the honeys and barley sugars, it just gets a little dry towards the end (tobacco, green tea) but this is welcomed after the enormous sweetness at the start.