Cadenheads Bunnahabhain 9yo Authentic Collection Autumn 2023 & Cadenheads Benrinnes 26yo Authentic Collection Autumn 2023


We're looking at a couple of bottles from Cadenheads Autumn 2023 Authentic Collection today.

Cadenheads Bunnahabhain 9yo Authentic Collection Autumn 2023

Region: Islay

ABV: 58.0%

Price: £55.00

First up is a 9yo peated Bunnah that has been additionally maturing in a red wine hogshead since August 2019. 228 bottles were released.

Nose

There’s initial notes of peanuts, ketchup, burnt back bacon, and ash. As we sit with it we start to notice tar, smoked almonds, buttered burnt toast, rock salt, fresh earth, cloves, and lime. A really promising nose that’s just what we hoped for.

Palate

There’s a little pepper spice initially, followed by ham and mustard crisps, ash, barbecue pulled pork, and dark chocolate. The best way to describe this might be 'dirt in a glass.' It has a good mouthfeel, and a good length finish with wet earth and peat lingering. A little air reveals raspberry jam and tar. This is nothing overly complex, but it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose has more of the red wine cask influence coming through with red fruits pushing to the fore and along with them more of the cloves. There’s also some warehouse funk, aniseed and corn bread appearing too. We’re actually finding that it’s a touch smokier now.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate holds up really well to water and has become much sweeter. Think maple syrup drenched over bacon. The earthiness we were getting before is now dry soil. There’s still plenty of campfire smoke, and along with it pork scratchings, raspberries, and Cranachan. Both the mouthfeel and finish remain relatively unchanged.

Conclusion

We’re very open in our opinion that we prefer full maturation releases, and that we often find red wine finishes too tannic for our tastes, but this is example of a finish done really well. Between this and Mondays Glen Scotia review we might just have to reevaluate our opinion. This is an easy 8/10 for us.

Score: 8/10

Value

It’s £55 for peated Islay whisky at cask strength. We bought a bottle and we’d recommend you do the same.


Cadenheads Benrinnes 26yo Authentic Collection Autumn 2023

Region: Speyside

ABV: 52.9%

Price: £150.00

Next we have a 26yo Benrinnes that was distilled in 1997 and left to mature in a refill bourbon barrel. 150 bottles were released.

Nose

Initially, there’s limoncello, cream soda, tobacco, honey, and a reminder of the passion fruit from a pornstar martini. Giving it a little time in the glass reveals thyme, whipped cream, and banana bread. It’s a light and delicate nose, and we would never have guessed the ABV was as high as 52.9%. Wonderful old bourbon cask nose that we could spend a few hours with.

Palate

The palate opens with melon-flavoured sweets (Jolly Ranchers), vanilla essence, bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, and orange juice. However, these sweeter notes are quickly overtaken by chilli spice, which linger for a good-length finish. It's challenging to judge the mouthfeel, as the dram is somewhat akin to the effervescent sensation of a 'Skips' crisp, with flavours quickly fizzing away to leave only spice behind. A little more time in the glass reveals notes of gingerbread and oak spice.

Nose (with water)

After reduction, treacle toffee and caramel emerge, replacing much of the fruit we noted before dilution. There's also a hint of salted peanuts, lashings of honey, and a touch of icing sugar. Interestingly, while it had a lovely creaminess before dilution, it now has a dryness to it.

Palate (with water)

On the reduced palate we’re finding the spice in better balance, though there's an added bitterness reminiscent of blood orange pith. While the sweeter flavours linger longer now on the still-long finish, the mouthfeel has become somewhat thin. The sweetness is now showing in a more synthetic way.

Conclusion

This has a lovely nose, but is let down slightly by an underwhelming palate that tastes younger than it is. The Cadenhead releases have been solid across the board recently, and this doesn’t buck that trend. It just fails to deliver on our expectations.

Score: 6.5/10

Value

Another bargain dram. You’ll struggle to get a 26yo whisky for less than £150 these days.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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