SMWS Advent Calendar: Day 17

Today’s dram marks the first dram with the Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile. Pipe Dreams turns out to be an 11-year-old Benrinnes that has been aged in a first fill ex-PX hogshead. I’m very curious about this dram, as it’s a flavour profile that I haven’t experienced much before from the SMWS. So, let’s find out if Pipe Dreams can convince me to scour the SMWS website for more drams from this particular profile.

Tasting Notes: Society Cask 36.182 “Pipe Dreams”

ABV: 57.3% (114.6 proof)

Age: 11 years old

Distillery: Benrinnes

Bottled by: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Category: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SMWS Flavour Profile: Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits

Chill-filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes


This has a wonderfully thick and sweet nose, that caters exactly to my liking. As I happen to be a huge fan of rum raisins (or “boerenjongens” as we call them in The Netherlands) and that’s exactly what I’m getting from the nose of this dram. I could see how it would just be raisins, sultana’s and even dried cranberries to some. But to me it’s the rum raisins that stays prevalent. And I don’t mind that one bit. There’s also a creaminess to it, that makes my mind wander to Malaga ice cream. Which ofcourse, is ice cream chockfull of… rum raisins! Water releases some fresher notes next to the glorious rum raisins. It’s almost a floral quality, that’s gets layered on top of the dram.


Nooo, my beloved rum raisins… They’re gone! I am so, so disappointed. All kidding aside though, this palate is very enjoyable, but the rum raisins are in fact not present anymore. Instead, I’m dried figs and dates. With some nutty qualities – reminiscent of pecan pie – in the mix as well. I guess you could say that this taste as a very expensive trail mix. I am also noticing the PX very clearly on the palate, which unfortunately is not really my cup of tea. I’ve always had a clear preference for Oloroso casks, as PX seems to give off a more artificial sweetness on my palate. This is different for everyone of course; I know many people who’d pick a PX over an Oloroso any day (I’m just not one of them). Water reveals some spice that I can’t quite place. It comes closest to cinnamon spice in my mind, but it’s not quite that though… It’s a welcome addition to the palate though.


Pipe Dreams holds a medium length finish for me. With more sweetness coming to the fore. In particular maple comes through for me. Not maple syrup per se, but hard maple syrup candy. There are some ever so slight tannins lingering on the sides of the tongue as well, but if you’re not looking for them you might find yourself hard pressed to find them at all. There’s a buttery quality to the finish I can really appreciate though, which brings to mind maple syrup covered pancakes with a cube of butter on top of the stack. Now there’s a mouth-watering image I don’t mind lingering on for a while. Like so many of the drams in this advent calendar, the finish gets turned up a notch with the adding of water. With this one it mainly amps up the tannins though, and it turns the maple syrup somewhat artificial. I definitely preferred the finish without water on this one.


I loved the nose of this dram a whole lot. But after that it started falling a bit short for me. It holds the same sickly-sweet notes for me that so many PX finishes do. And which I find rather hard to get past. But I know that this is very personal for me. I think this dram is luscious, thick, and rich enough to please a lot of people out there. I would gladly hand my glass over to someone who can appreciate it for what it is though. If they first let me enjoy that wonderful nose for a bit at least. If they made a showergel with the scent of Pipe Dreams, I’d probably end up a shrivelled-up raisin myself.



How did I know this was a Benrinnes? Just look at the code and find it in my SMWS bottle codes list!

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