Back in 2010, when I bought this bottle I wasn’t entirely sure about my purchase when I finally got it in. A random BenRiach from a random bottler, from a random cask. Should I have done this?
I kept doubting for quite a while before I decided to finally open the bottle last summer during my Blog Birthday Bash with a dozen or so fellow drinkers. It was received positively and I was happy again.
BenRiach from a good bourbon cask can be awesome, but it can also be quite mediocre. Which is obviously the case for all whiskies from all kinds of casks, but in this case the label just said ‘Bourbon Hogshead’, with no information on the times it had been filled before. Generally that means refill, and sometimes these don’t impart any flavor at all if they’ve been used too often.
This one, however…
A bit of vanilla, but it’s not overpowering everything else. Lots of fruit and straw with pineapple and apples and pears. Quite some oak, but again, not overpowering. Slightly milky and creamy. Late in the game I get lychees too.
The palate is light, but rich in flavor. As in, the flavors are light flavors, but there’s a good lot of them. Vanilla and chalk at first. Then some licorice, pineapple and apple. Lychee, straw and grass come back too. I get Granny Smith flavored candies too.
The finish is surprisingly dry with chalk and straw. There’s oak too and barely any vanilla here (woohoo!). Quite long, with some hints of sawdust.
By now the bottle has been emptied. I used in said tasting, sold and traded a few samples and had quite some drams from it myself. It was gorgeous. There were some hints of vanilla but they weren’t overpowering so it was acceptable.
The fruit from the spirit and the interaction with the oak worked wonders and the result was a fruity and fairly timid dram. The dryness from the straw and chalk flavors added a bit of depth.
In short, I really loved this whisky. Liquid Sun apparently know what they’re doing, which is not surprising since it’s part of The Whisky Agency.
BenRiach 1985-2010, 25yo, 48.1%, Bourbon Hogshead, Liquid Sun for Japan. Available on the Whiskybase Marketplace for € 220 now