Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail The Book of Kells Benrinnes 21 Years Old

[40.0%・21 Years Old・Distilled in 1968・Bottled Circa 1989・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Limited Release]


Strawberries and raspberries swirled with light cream. Fresh grassiness carrying white pepper and minerals. Clean citrus, stone fruits, lime twists and oranges with mild strokes of toffee, creme brûlée and vanilla sugar and perhaps hint of cigarettes.

Palate & Finish:

Just like the nose forebodes, strawberry jam and orange marmalade, delicate barley sugar lightly dressed up by some cinnamon spices on a velvety smooth delivery. The maple syrup comes with just a hint of raspberry acidity to stop the dram from being excessively sweet.

Subtle suggestions of toffee and boiled strawberries elongating for a graceful finish.


I haven’t tasted enough from this distillery to say for sure, but this feels decisively different from current iterations. There is more of this generic Speyside elegance on the soft side, a little flair would elevate the dram even further, other than that I can’t really point to a flaw..

☆ [Recommended]


Whisky Review: Silver Seal “Whisky is Nature” Series Benrinnes 1984 30 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Dry


Soothing barley fragrance with a dry husky twist, a bit shy, dry vanilla cereal painting on beautiful green pears, some white peaches and dried apricots. As the aroma slowly opens up, we have French toast and honey mead brimming tenderly.


More green pears sweetness nicely covered by a coating of dry cereal grains. A floral touch, timber shed intertwined with malt syrup and beeswax. Off to dry land, plenty of dry spices, white pepper, white chalks, saw dust, a hint of green malt/pine, or rather, dark chocolate oak in clever disguise. Coconut shreds sprinkling down, and finally stewed fruits wake up from slumber. Golden malt cake, barley tail. Convoluted progression but enjoyable palate.


A curious beam of spearmint shooting in, another quick floral touch, fragrant white fruits gleaming positively. Gorgeous finish.


A simultaneous display of both sweetness and dryness in this whisky. Brilliant orchard fruits radiating at the front row, and then in a blink of an eye, it goes bone-dry. This is something I am not very used to as I do have a bit of sweet tooth… Many elements at play, there are so much going on in this dignified yet vibrant, tricky dance which I find it difficult to capture all of them even after a few drams for more than an hour. Another lovely, advanced dram which surely needs plenty of time to discover and be inspired. Close to 2 stars.

☆ [Recommended]

[56.5% • 2015 Bottled • 1984 Distilled • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Cask Number: 2268 • 288 of 480 Bottles • *+]