I saved this bottle for seven years before I opened it. From a luxury position, I bought this because it caught my eye when I was at De Druiventuin in 2012 to swap some of my Ardbeg bottles for a bottle of BenRiach 1976.
Then, I figured that a whisky like this, from my year of birth, should be kept for a special occasion. Of course, there was always something else to open, or to think of an occasion as not special enough.
Last year, when FB invited me and some others to a ’90+ points’ tasting at his place, I decided the time was ripe. I was a bit apprehensive, since somethings don’t pan out as you hope they do, but I was not disappointed.
Since then, I slowly went through the bottle and while writing this, I am about to empty the last glass from it. Time for a review, right?
It caresses your ‘olfactory receptors’ with the best a bourbon cask Speysider has to offer. Baked apples, fresh pineapple, coconut flakes. Hints of straw and a whiff of vanilla. It becomes more bakery-like after a few seconds, with hints of honey and puff pastry. Baklava, anyone? Slowly the oak starts coming through after a few minutes, and the fresh fruit wanes a little bit.
The palate is quite sharp for the age of the whisky and the ABV, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s not too sharp. There’s hints of black pepper and chili pepper, with straw and oak. The fruit is pushed back a little bit. There’s baked apple, coconut husk, hay, barley and some caramel notes. I start getting pear drops and other boiled candy.
The finish has a short blast of peppery heat at first, but quickly wanes to slightly dry oak, fruit and straw. Apple, pineapple, dry wood, barley. The lot.
Honestly, this is exactly what I hope a bourbon cask does, when given time. There is a whiff of vanilla, but it’s nowhere near overpowering. I’m glad to say this is a massive fruit bomb, exactly what an older BenRiach should be.
I love the pinapple, apple, peardrops, straw. All these things are among my favorite scents and aromas, and therefore the score is high. Holy crap this is good. A worthy whisky to get close to the end of the year!
BenRiach 28yo, 1981-2010, Bourbon Barrel 2589, 51.6%, Single Cask Bottling Batch 7. No longer available but expect to pay a couple hundred bucks.