Hogshead Reviews: Dailuaine 6 & Benrinnes 10

It’s Whisky Wednesday, and since it’s also Hogshead Week at dram1.com, I’m all set for trying the next two samples from their inaugural line-up. Today it’s time for two drams with exciting maturations. The Dailuaine saw the inside of a first fill Amontillado sherry octave and the Benrinnes 10 received a second maturation in a first fill Ruby Port octave. Those are some funky maturations you don’t see every day!

So far, this inaugural release of Hogshead whiskies has been extremely good to me. And I can’t wait to see what someone like Toon can bring the world of whisky through these adventurous maturations. I’m usually a huge fan of port finishes, and I’m less familiar with Amontillado casks. Which means I’m very excited to see what flavours I will discover in both cases. Let’s find out!

Tasting Notes: Hogshead – Dailuaine 6 years old
Stats:

ABV: 48 % (96 proof)

Age: 6 years old

Distillery: Dailuaine

Bottled by: Hogshead Indie

Category: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

This instantly triggers my memory and brings images of early mornings with French toast to mind. Brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon all intermingle beautifully into that one coherent image. Behind the initial blast down memory lane I’m also finding a lot of dried fruit notes. As dates, figs, and plums all pass the revue. All those flavours are covered in a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, making this dram almost reminiscent of Turkish Delight.  Water gives way for the dried fruits to become fresh fruits, and mainly red apples come to mind.

Palate:

On the palate you start to notice a very fun interplay between the relatively young spirit and the influence of a presumably very active cask. I greatly appreciate how the lighter, grassy, notes get balanced out by a thick layer of sultana sweetness. There’s also some caramel sandwich-spread, which used to be my favourite bread topping as a youngster (Bebogeen, for the Dutchies amongst us). I’m picking up on some baking spices as well. Reminding me of yet another bread topping I used to favour as a child: Schuddebuikjes. It’s difficult to explain in English that one, but it’s basically round cookie crumbs. Water reveals a sliver of honey on the palate that I didn’t find before, but it does mute some of the other flavours I liked so much.

Finish:

The finish is relatively short and focuses on the drier side of this dram. In fact, I find it quite reminiscent of a dry white wine. Some softer caramel notes carry through on the finish as well, which I’d describe as a less intense variant of a Werther’s Original. Sultanas are noticeable if you look for them, and all in all there’s plenty of complexity to look for in this finish. But the flavours are very subtle. Adding water does not appear to have too much influence on the finish of this dram.

Verdict:

This whisky is a beautiful example of what a good cask can do to a relatively young whisky. The combination of cask and spirit has clearly been well thought out and that shows in how well the two fit together. Despite the casks heavy influence, it never tries to take over. It covers up the younger influences of this whisky beautifully, without ever becoming overly sweet or sherry-like. This is a maturation done right. I had a very clear preference for the dram before I added water to it. But it’s always fun to find out for yourself whether you like it better with or without, so I’d still definitely recommend you to try it out. If you’d like to try out an Amontillado finish for yourself, I can wholeheartedly advice you to give this 6-year-old Dailuaine from Hogshead a try.

Rating:

90/100

Tasting Notes: Hogshead – Benrinnes 10 years old
Stats:

ABV: 48 % (96 proof)

Age: 10 years old

Distillery: Benrinnes

Bottled by: Hogshead Indie

Category: Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

The fact that we’re dealing with a Port finished whisky here is immediately clear as you put your nose to the glass. Dark dried fruit flavours come pouring from the top of the glass and it’s accompanied by a thick syrupy sweetness that sends my mouth watering. I am also picking up on some maple syrup and the malty notes that are present in this dram bring to mind an image of freshly baked waffles. As a half Belgian my heart rejoices, this smells like walking past a waffle stand on the Newport Boulevard. Water only ramps the flavours up further but also reveals a vanilla influence that reminds me of warm custard. Delicious!

Palate:

Where the nose of this dram brought me to my fatherland, the palate brings me right back to the motherland. Here in the Netherlands when there’s a fair in town, it’s often accompanied by and old school sweets cart. And there they sell “wijnballen” an oversized variant of a hard candy. And that’s exactly what I’m picking up on this palate. There’s also cherries and strawberry and some subtle hints of liquorice root as well. This palate is just a delicious piece of candy, that I would gladly reach for anytime I want to satisfy my sweet tooth. Water brings forth a bit more focus on the tannins in this dram, giving it an oaky layer that is very pleasant. If you’d like to balance the sweetness in this dram out a bit, adding water might just be the thing you need.

Finish:

A wonderfully long finish awaits after swallowing a sip of this dram. It does leave the mouth a little dry, but overall, the influence of the tannins is nicely balanced out by the sweeter notes. I’m finding dried cranberries, raisins and Amarena cherries. And there’s a creamy layer that lingers on the back of the palate as well, as if I’ve just hunkered down a slice of raspberry cheesecake. Water or no water, the finish remains pleasantly long. But I am picking up on a bigger influence of spices now, vaguely reminiscent of “ontbijtkoek”.

Verdict:

This one is very much my cup of tea, as I’m a huge fan of port finishes on a whisky. The flavours that I’ve come to know and love are all there, and yet they’re much more balanced than I’m used to from a port finish. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t have minded either way. You can wake me up anytime at night for a good port finish, and this is just that! If you’re not a fan of heavily sweetened dried fruit notes, do try adding some water. It might just make a very pleasant difference.

Rating:

92/100

Roundup:

Getting to enjoy these Hogshead whiskies was an absolute pleasure and I’m very grateful to Toon for providing me with the samples. I can wholeheartedly recommend picking yourself up a bottle, and if you ever visit a whisky festival in the Netherlands be sure to look for the Hogshead Imports stand, as both Toon’s own label and the labels he represents are more than worth your time! I, for one, am already looking forward to Friday, when I’ll get to enjoy the last two drams from this inaugural release.

Read all about Hogshead Imports here.

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