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I bought this bottle in East Tennessee driving back from Nashville to Norfolk last summer. Obviously, L22 can’t be the year for Benriach. Perhaps that is the day? So the 22nd day of the 07th month of the 10 year? So this bottle would be from 2010? Just a guess really. That would make my previous review from 2005 and not 2004 like I said. All just guesses. Here I my notes from 7/10/2012. The bottle had been open for just 10 days. I am sitting here tonight with a glass reading my notes. The bottle has changed a great deal in a year. But I agree with the majority of my notes - particularly my score.
Nose: Lemons and wood varnish. Definitely smells like a pine table being waxed and a floor recently scrubbed with pine-sol. It is borderline offensive, but I kind of like it. There is leather, mud, and rich malted barley: hardly a whisper of peat smoke. Old hay barn at Grandpa’s house; and his breezeway. Not the best nose, but it does give my mind those evocative images which I tend to give big points for . . . how to be fair with a nose that isn’t all that complex or lovely but takes my imagination somewhere I like to go?
Taste: Sweet and sour immediately hit the tongue. The sour wins out a bit and it turns into a very slightly sour note on the tongue. There is only a bit of peat in the background. Thick mouth feel on the tongue
Finish: Big ball of fire explodes. It is peat lined with tons of lemon. That fades to a dull roar of lemons, oak, campfire, and more lemon rinds.
Complexity, Balance: Very interesting. I would say more complex on the nose then the old 10yo, but not as complex on the taste or the finish. The balance is also a bit off. There is way too much lemon here for me.
Aesthetic experience: I don’t love the look of this bottle or the Latin name. What I do like: the label color, the right age at 10yo, and 46% ABV!
Total = 21.5 Conclusion: Not a great example of Cuiositas. Very sour stuff going on. That said, I will certainly another bottle. It is a great peat alternative to Islay. As a peat head I would love to see more peated Highland and Speyside single malts out there. However I can’t find this bottle in Virginia and it is $75 in Maryland . . . less then $50 at Binny’s. I’ll wait till I can find it in the $50 range.