Following the very successful line of a No Age Statement Cask Strength releases from the sister distillery Glendronach, BenRiach distillery have seen fit to join the foray and release a similar release of their own and release the first batch of BenRiach Cask Strength expression.
The only question was why did they wait till now to release it, while Glendronach has already released 5 batches. I’d guess it’s related to the fact that sherry matured casks can be used in younger age relatively to ex-bourbon casks and BenRiach didn’t have comparable casks on hands due to the slumber between 2002 and 2005. They had to use casks from later years (while reserving the early casks from 2005 to the 10yo and future aged releases), and those casks needed to sleep for a while.
But eventually the casks were matured enough and we got the first batch, bottled at 57.2% and I expect we’ll see many more batches in the future.
Nose: At first it smells very young with lots of cereals and even some random whiffs of new make . But after allowing it to open up in the glass it recovers nicely showing strong vanilla and honey notes along with fruity notes of pears, lemon peels and canned apricots in syrup. After adding a few drops of water it opens up very nicely and the fruity notes intensify, and the apricots are of the fresh ripe type.
Palate: Spicy and cereal-y, oak spices and pepper and mild sweet fruitiness. With water: much better! There’s spiciness I’d catalog as sherry spiciness upon blind tasting and it taste sweeter and darker with extra fruitiness with a touch of cinnamon.
Finish: Medium length finish with weak oak spices, lingering sweetness. With water, more spices and also sweeter.
Thoughts: It’s a nice and not overly complex BenRiach whisky. But it will shine through if you add water. In fact I think it’s a mandatory action until the bottle will breath in and gets oxidize a bit. Bottom line: It’s a nice daily dram.
(Official sample provided by Benriach Distillery Company)