While BenRiach is rapidly becoming one of my favourite distilleries (as are all that I taste a couple good drams of), it’s always lovely to taste where it all comes from. How whisky from now compare with ones from decades ago.
At whiskyauction.com I picked up a miniature to do exactly that, compare things from yonder year to more recent releases. The drawback with old miniatures is that they’re not very reliable, but every once in a while you have to take a slight leap of faith.
The level of whisky was just below the neck, which means a good 10% of the bottle’s contents had already evaporated in the 25 years it sat quietly waiting to be consumed.
The drawback of the label? There’s no age on it. According to whiskybase there are two versions of BenRiach’s 1969 bottled under the Connoisseurs Choice label. A 10 year old and a 19 year old.
Like many of the really old BenRiachs there is a lot of tropical fruit in it. The nose starts in this trend. It’s also waxy with apple and mango. Slightly peppery and some oak. There’s also a layer of spices, with some sand as well. A very old fashioned whisky, and in line with my expectations.
The palate is much, much richer than you’d expect from a 40% whisky. The fruit and waxiness are back with a gentle layer of oak to back it all up. Very delicious.
The finish is very similar to the palate. Not too much development which I usually think of as simplicity. In this case I can’t complain since it just continues to goodness. The fruitiness is a bit more like old fruit, somewhat less fresh. And it’s a bit dryer.
While it is closely followed by yesterday’s Glenmorangie, this is the most delicious dram I’ve had this year. Of course, there are still 360 days to trump it and I’m certain I will be trying to do exactly that.
The dram has a lot of complexity and many layers, like Shrek, even though it’s bottled at ‘only’ 40%. All in all, a very rich and very delicious whisky. I think I paid € 12 for the miniature. That would make € 172 for a full bottle. I’d gladly pay that.
BenRiach 1969, 40%, Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseurs Choice