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Benrinnes in Aberlour has gone through many changes since the original distillery was founded in 1826. Firstly, in 1829, it was swept away in a flood. In 1834 a new distillery (the Lyne of Ruthrie) was built a few miles away. A bad fire occured in 1896; then completely rebuilt in the 1950s. Interestingly, with its six stills, it does a partial form of triple distillation - one wash still is paired with two spirit stills. The distillery is now owned by Diageo.
This particular spirit was distilled on April 23rd 2003 and matured for nine years in a first fill ex-bourbon barrel. It is one of 256 bottles.
The colour is a pale straw, with light honey highlights. The nose features tons of barley sugar, fresh bright lemons, is very citrusy. Very young on the nose. Is there the very faintest hint of smoke, growing in the glass over time? Very floral, as if in a garden. With water, the citrus is tamed but a tiny bit more smoke appears, with some woody notes. Light, bright and refreshing.
The palate has white chocolate, lemon curd, spices and more malt (hence the "chilli porridge" moniker). Salty and tart. Spicier and less salty with water - an improvement.
The finish is very gentle, developing into marshmallows and lemon meringue. This is a clean, bright summery dram - it could definitely use a little more body, but is enjoyable and very drinkable.