SMWS 36.171 Speyside Festival 2020 “A smooth ride” Benrinnes 22 Year (1997)

Scotch Whisky Review #277: SMWS 36.171 Speyside Festival 2020 “A smooth ride” Benrinnes 22 Year (1997)

Distillery: Benrinnes

Bottler: SMWS

Region: Speyside

Age: 22 year. Distilled August 15, 1997.

ABV: 60.50% Cask Strength

Cask Type: Second-fill Barrel.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/DangerousDoorknob

Color: Did not record color. Natural Color and Non-Chill Filtered


Nose: (according to the wife) “It doesn’t smell edible, in my opinion” were some of the first words out of her mouth. It smells rather bitter and of herbal medicine. A bit of wood varnish comes along as well as a ton of grass.

Palate: It’s quite drinkable at full strength. There’s not a whole lot going on though, just a lot of hay and grass. With some water, you get sugary malt along with a bit of nuttiness. A little bit of dried fruit and cinnamon also pops in which reminds me of sujeonggwa (수정과/Korean cinnamon punch).

Finish: Fairly long. There’s a lot of vegetal funk along with vanilla and cream. With some water, there’s some apple that comes out.


Conclusion: While the wife doesn’t think any whisky is edible, it’s rare for non-peated whiskies that she outright says that it smells inedible. The nose is chock full of herbal medicine and a ton of grass. The notes of vegetation continue all the way through, being the main notes popping up in the palate and in the finish as well. With a little bit of water, some fruitiness comes out in the form of dried fruits in the palate and some apple in the finish. The vegetal funk is a little much though, and it could use a little bit of toning down. Not my favorite Benrinnes, but decent enough. Would I buy a bottle? No.

Final Score: 76.

Scotch Whisky Review #277, Speyside Review #103, Whisky Network Review #420


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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