Following yesterday’s review of BenRiach 21 Four Oak let’s have another BenRiach review for the road for those who goes back to work today after the beautiful spring weekend.
Since it was a great weekend, full of greenery and flowers, let’s review something special, a very old peated BenRiach, the BenRiach Authenticus 30 Years Old.
The 30 Year Old is the logical successor after BenRiach has released following the 21 Year Old and 25 Year Old in the past, it’s a non chill filtered, au naturale colour and bottled at 46%.
BenRiach Authenticus 30 Years Old (46%, £300/€498)
Nose: Great mellow and subtle smoke and you feel the age impact on the peat. Sweet honeyed fruit, and just like with the 35 yo it has a tropical edge, melon, peach, and kiwi but laced with smoke. After a while also pink grapefruit. Velvety and perfumey. Continue reading
It’s time to make a dent in the back log of samples and notes waiting to be published. For today I’ve picked the BenRiach 21 Years Old Matured in four different casks since such a high count of different casks seems to be getting a tad more popular lately (Yes, Laphroaig Four Oak and Jura Seven Oak, I’m looking at you).
This whisky was aged in four different casks: Bourbon, Virgin Oak, PX and Red Wine Casks and then was blended together by BenRiach master blender, Rachel Barrie and bottled at 46%.
The BenRiach 21 Years Old is one of the first new products Rachel Barrie, formerly of Bowmore Morrison Distillers, created for BenRiach when she joined the BenRiach group (also consisting of Glendronach and Glenglassaugh), but we don’t know much about how was the whisky was splitted between the casks not the time period it spent in each cask type (was a portion of the whisky here fully matured in virgin oak for 21 years?).
Let’s check it out and see how the casks shaped this whisky.
BenRiach 21 Year Old Four Oak Casks (46%, £125/124,99€)
Nose: Sweet, lots of nuttiness: with nutmeg and a bit of cinnamon, honey, pears and peaches, a bit of gooseberries, strong vanilla note like the tip of iceberg (promise for much more below surface). Then the virgin oak sweetness and oak spices shows up but it’s kept in check and isn’t overpowering, a touch of coconut. After a few minutes more spices, pepper and cooked cinnamon. Continue reading
Today’s dram is another fine example from Gordon & Macphail “The Wood Makes the Whisky” campaign. It’s a 16 or 17 years old BenRiach, distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2014 and it was matured in refill Sherry hogshead casks.
BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2014, £58.50)
Nose: Elegant and light sherry notes at first: sweet dried fruit with some fresh berries thrown in for a good measure accompanied by cinnamon. Then honey, cereals, pears and white fruit, soft and creamy vanilla with crushed nuts, quite a rich nose and after a while the lovely sherry notes comes back for good. Continue reading
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.
BenRiach Cask Strength batch 1 (57.2%, £50.90/€66.50)
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. Continue reading
After previously reviewing the first two whiskies in the BenRiach heavily peated wood finished series (Albariza which I liked a lot and Dunder which I didn’t like much), it’s time review the third offering in the series, BenRiach Latada.
The Latada (named after the trellised vine system on the island of Madeira) was matured in American oak casks and then finished in Madeira casks for unspecified time. Only 4001 bottles were made (gotta love the non-round number!), bottled at 46% ABV, natural colored and is non chill filtered.
BenRiach Latada 18 Year Old (46%, £79.99/€105.00)
Nose: Light and sweet gentle smoke rises up, sweet peat, cured meat in sweet fruit sauce, canned apricots with vanilla topping. With time, it gets fruitier with more apricots and also peaches with whipped malt cream. I must admit the nose is great.
So, how is your hangover after the new year parties last night? 🙂
I guess many of you aren’t feeling 100% well today so go take some painkillers, drink a lot of water and I’ll go easy with you today with a “debt” review, the 17th dram, one before last dram, of the Blind Competition Tasting 2015.
Well, we knew it’s no highlander after the Inchmurrin the day before, so by default, the suspected region was Speyside. But this dram with the peat and burnt rubber notes totally threw me off. There is peat, but it’s not of the Islay peat type as it felt of the clear and crisp smoke type and less of the peated, ashy and soot type. Eventually I guessed it to be a Ledaig 2004 as I read a few tasting notes mentioning clear smokiness but no, I wasn’t even close as it was a single cask BenRiach 1994 (cask 806), bottled for independentspirit.de
I considered BenRiach briefly but dismissed it due to the burnt rubber note which I didn’t link to their usual sherry casks, so no points to me on that day. Ah, once again the wonders of single casks strike back…
BenRiach 1994 20 Year Old for Independent Spirit (54.6%, 659 bottles, €124)
photo credit: whiskybase.com
After reviewing a 35 year old Brora, let’s stick with a few more reviews of 35 year old whiskies, shall we?
This time it’s an affordable 35 year offering from BenRiach. The BenRiach 35 was introduced in late 2014 (a year ago or so) as a replacement to the 30 year old which is quite buckling the trend of going young ah? Although the ABV is relatively low by no means it’s punch-less.
BenRiach 35 Year Old (42.5%, £358.33/€575/€590)
Nose: A great fruity start with dark and deep fruit, peaches, pears and apricots, honey, rich and deep, you feel the age here. Nuts, nutmeg, and after nursing it in the glass for a while a bountiful of tropical fruit. All in all it’s a lovely nose. Continue reading