Apart from the general crazes with similar club bottlings and private bottlings, there are always some BenRiachs popping up for festivals and such. (those crazes, by the way: around 2009 everyone bottled Bowmore, two years ago everyone bottled GlenDronach, and the year before that it was Ledaig)
BenRiach is a distillery that is hugely popular for private bottlings since a lot of different styles. From peated to unpeated, a million different cask types and a wide variety of ages. Normally there is some good stuff in there, although they also miss every once in a while. Some of the wine casks aren’t all that, and I remember a 1989 Virgin Oak finish that I found way too bitter.
Even though you can’t really trust every single bottling that comes out, in general I consider it a top notch distillery since some of the most awesome whiskies I’ve had come from BenRiach.
This bottling was bottled in late 2013 for Whisky Weekend Amsterdam. A festival that takes place in January each year for a couple of years now. I’ve never been (yet) but since I’ve heard insanely good reports, I might have to change that when 2016 rears its head.
Smooth and creamy, with lots of oak. After that a huge blast of vanilla comes around, as well as coconut and other nuts. Strangely, I also get a hint of cleaning spray, lime. Some alcohol too.
The palate is sweet but has loads of alcohol and a strangely bitter taste from the oak. Vanilla, dryness and heat. It’s a very hot whisky, even though there’s not that much alcohol here. Nuts, coconut, peanut.
The finish is surprisingly thin, but still very hot. Lots of alcohol, vanilla and chalk.
I could more or less have copy-pasted each part of the tasting notes, since this whisky is the same in each step. There’s no development going on, and apart from the simplicity, it’s just too fierce. There’s too much heat from the alcohol, even with some water added.
I didn’t know the specifics of this dram when tasting it, apart from ‘BenRiach 2000’. I guessed it would be a virgin oak cask again, since the oak influence is huge. It turns out to be a bourbon cask, but the bourbon didn’t mellow it all that much.
In short, not my cup of tea. The flavors aren’t that nice, and it’s too simple. I didn’t finish the glass.
BenRiach 2000-2013, 12yo, 54.3%, bottled for Whisky Weekend Amsterdam 2014. Available in the Whiskybase Marketplace for € 76