Blind Tasting Competition day 17: BenRiach 20, 1994-2014, 54.6%

The penultimate day of the Blind Tasting Competition was upon us yesterday. A big and sherried whisky was waiting for us and the only thing we knew was that it couldn’t be a Highlander.

I didn’t score much over the last couple of weeks, but that’s not really the point (I keep telling myself). Somehow I am not as jaded over the competition as I’ve been at some point over the last couple of years. Somehow I can see the fun in getting everything wrong and I focus more on tasting some kick ass whiskies.

The BenRiach it turned out to be, yesterday, is bottled ‘Fur Independent Spirit’ in Germany. The whisky was drawn from an Oloroso Sherry Butt and the fact that it was a sherry cask was no surprise after a single whiff of the booze.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

Lots of sherry with bread and bread sticks. Dried plums and a bit fiery. A quite light profile behind all this sherry, with sponge cake. After a while some leather and furniture wax pops up.

Some chili pepper. Mild on the arrival but it ramps up to a peppery bit of firewater right after. Bread, buttery toast and brown sugar. Peach and plum too.

The gentle finish is surprising. Surprisingly long too. Lots of sherry and spiced cake and some fruit. After a few seconds it’s suddenly a bit sharper but then mellows down nicely.

I went for Bunnahabhain, but doubted BenRiach for a while too. I didn’t pick it since I couldn’t really fathom the character of the spirit (the leather, and pepper) with BenRiach, but I’ve had heavily sherried Bunnahabhains that were a bit similar to this.

Since I also picked the wrong age (five years off) and the wrong ABV (4% off) I didn’t get any points. By now I’m used to it. I have more experience with it than actually getting points. It’s quite humiliating, this.

About the whisky then. It’s a ridiculously sherried whisky, but it’s really, really good. The sherry is really huge, but also quite interesting and leaves for a very interesting whisky with lots of different flavors. An awesome dram.

BenRiach 20, 1994-2014, Oloroso Sherry Butt, 54.6%, ‘Fur Independent Spirit’. Still available there for € 124


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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