Benriach 2008 / Macallan 31 Years (Vintage Bottlers)

Benriach 2008 / Macallan 31 Years (Vintage Bottlers)

You may remember Vintage Bottlers from very good bottlings such as their Islay Malt 1990 and Port Charlotte 2001 or the Ben Nevis 1996. Today we go in opposite directions with a youngish Benriach 2008 as well as a 31 year old Macallan.


Benriach 14 yo 2008 (48,3%, Vintage Bottlers 2023, hogshead, 378 btl.)

Nose: rather acidic fruits like lemon and elderberry at first, becoming rather candied along the way. Maybe unripe pineapple. Milder orchard fruits like apples and pears too. Then whiffs of sour cream and touches of soil. Just a hint of chiffon leather.

Mouth: still bright fruits at its core, but a tad greener. Hints of pear eau-de-vie, barley syrup, hints of grappa. Then lemons and gooseberries, as well as ginger. Later some bready notes and leaven, with a faint hint of liquorice and butterscotch towards the end.

Finish: medium, with a grassy bourbonny note, chocolate milk and green fruits.

Good, clean and slightly green Benriach. No complaints except for the low complexity and the exaggerated price. Available from Vintage Bottlers direct.



Macallan 31 yo 1989+1991 ‘The Marriage’ (45,5%, Vintage Bottlers 2023, bourbon cask #5447 + sherry cask #2598, 271 btl.)

Macallan 31 Years Marriage - Vintage Bottlers Nose: clean and complex. The sherry is in the lead, bringing caramelized nuts, raisins, cassis and nicely polished, almost waxy wood to the table. Blackberry jam and toffee. A whiff of bright and lightly floral aromatics too, which remind me of cognac in a way. Hints of humidors. Subtle mint as well as a tiny roasted note in the background. Really attractive.

Mouth: still robust sherry, but also elegant. Proper Oloroso style. Plenty of prunes and dates, with hazelnuts and a mild herbal note which balances the sweetness. More dark fruit jams. Some tobacco hints and even a whiff of smoke. Then a bit of dark tea, more raisins, some armagnac and a hint of kumquats (the bourbon cask shining through?)

Finish: long and dark, with plenty of raisins, sweet oak, herbal tea and hints of cocoa. Not too drying at any point.

A pretty wonderful release. It’s just a perfect match: the way I see it, the sherry makes it rich and the bourbon cask keeps it fresh and elegant. Like in the old days, I’d say. With a little more oomph, this could have been one of the highlights of the year. Available from Vintage Bottlers or The Whisky Exchange for instance. Score: 92/100