The Old Malt Cask Benrinnes K&L Pick 23 Year (1997)

Scotch Whisky Review #368: The Old Malt Cask Benrinnes K&L Pick 23 Year (1997)

Distillery: Benrinnes.

Bottler: Hunter Laing.

Region: Speyside.

Age: 23 Year. Distilled in June of 1997 and bottled in March of 2021.

Cask Type: Refill Hogshead.

Cask Number: HL18003.

ABV: 58.4% Cask Strength.

Color: 1.4, Tawny.


Nose: It’s really, really ethanoly and smells exactly like acetone does. Every so often there a small hint of some malt sugars and fruit but the acetone is hard to get past. After watering it down, nearly one-to-one water to whisky, the acetone does finally dissipate leaving a nice green apple scent.

Palate: It’s exactly like the nose teases at full strength. It’s just pure acetone and ethanol. Every so often, some sugary malt pops in, but it’s fleeting and simply can’t win against the much stronger notes. I tried adding water and this remained incredibly astringent until I got it to nearly one-to-one water to whisky. At that point, it remained hot (how?) but had a green apple note there.

Finish: Mercifully short. Tastes like a bad, bottom of the shelf vodka.


Conclusion: Benrinnes is a distillery that I have some strong feelings toward. In my opinion, any Benrinnes distillate that isn’t aged in a sherry cask is wasted as they are a match made in heaven. I’m not sure what gravitated me to this K&L Old Malt Cask pick, but perhaps it was under misguided hopes that this would be one of those delicious sherried casks. Unfortunately, this really deserves to go straight down the drain. At full strength, it is absolutely undrinkable. It drinks like a really, really cheap vodka and honestly I’d probably prefer the cheap stuff to this given that it would burn less. It doesn’t take to water well, adding a bit a time revealed that a very large amount of water is needed to make this drinkable. My initial reaction was to give this a single digit score, but it becomes at least somewhat drinkable when you drown it enough. Would I buy a bottle? Honestly, if I had one, I’d definitely drain pour it.

Final Score: 30.


Scotch Whisky Review #368, Speyside Review #133, Whisky Network Review #522


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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