BenRiach 1995-2014, 18yo, Port Puncheon, 53.5% – OB for Whisky Weekend Twente

Those private casks for festivals and clubs always go in waves. Over the last couple of years it has been Bowmore, GlenDronach, Ledaig, Glenfarclas en also BenRiach. Now, with BenRiach it’s not very surprising since they always do a lot of single casks and private bottlings, but around 2013/2014 almost every festival and country/importer seemed to have their own bottling hitting the shelves.

Of this one I got a sample last year and it has been patiently waiting in a box with all its brethren. I only now looked it up and found out it was from a Port Puncheon instead of a sherry cask.

It was bottled for the Whisky Weekend Twente festival, in the east of The Netherlands. It’s one of the smaller festivals, and surprisingly (or maybe not so, in a market that’s stretched thin) there are still bottles available at decent prices.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

Really rich and heavy, with a cloyingly sweet warmth. Dark bread and leather, maybe slightly rubbery even. There is some fruit in there, but it takes forever before to show up. It’s sweet and tropical when it does. Mango, banana, papaya.

The palate is really feinty. There were some indicators of that on the nose, but it continues here. A whiff of peat with oak and that heavy cloying sweetness again. Some cracked black pepper. It’s dry and heavy, and surprisingly sharp for an 18 year old. As in, it starts smoother but builds up some bite.

The finish continues down the same alley as the palate, with a focus on the feinty flavors. There’s flavors of dry oak and alcohol. Big, heavy and rich.

It’s a bit of a weird one, this. I don’t get any indicators of port. At least, it could just have just as well been sherry. There’s some fruit on the nose, but the overall focus is on the feinty notes. Oak, alcohol, leather, peat, pepper. It’s all very heavy and sort of dirty as well.

Having said that, it’s a dram that I would not regret buying had I done so, but now that I’ve tasted it, I know I won’t rush over to any web shop and chuck it in a digital shopping cart. The price is right for an 18 year old, and I know there will be enough people liking this, but I think I’d get tired of it far earlier than I would finish the bottle.


BenRiach 1995 – 02/2014, 18yo, Port Puncheon 3696, 53.5%, OB for Whisky Weekend Twente. Available at DrankGigant for € 84.50


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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