Thursday, August 30, 2007
Benriach 12yo 'Heredotus Fumosus'
Pedro Ximenez Finish
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
Although the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2007 says that BenRiach is one of the easiest distilleries to find, we drove past it twice when we visited back in 2005. Clever university students...
BenRiach was opened in 1898, the same year as Benromach(tasted Monday), and it proved to be a pretty shitty time to open a distillery. The Pattison crash came just a few months later and a depression in the whisky industry naturally followed. The distillery was built as a sort of sister distillery to Longmorn who used barley malted on BenRiach's maltings floor through the post-Pattison years. It wasn't until 1965, a great era for the whisky industry, that BenRiach was refurbished and re-opened. The maltings continued to operate until 1999, are still in working condition, and will likely be used again by the current owners.
Intra Trading with Burn Stewart's former director, Billy Walker, purchased the distillery from Pernod Ricard (who had mothballed it in 2002) in 2004 and are the current owners. The core range consists of a peated and an unpeated line. The heavily peated expressions are called Curiositas (10yo, and currently on offer from an already great RRP at Royal Mile Whiskies) and Authenticus(21yo). They also have a 12, 16 and 20 year old, the latter of which is somewhat peaty and absolutely excellent(and also currently on offer at RMW!). But beyond that it all gets a bit confusing, especially for the newcomer to the wide world of whisky. BenRiach has released over twenty(!) limited editions since 2006 and rival Bruichladdich for an ever expanding range of whiskies with funky names and colourful labels. With an absolutely stellar core range, I kind of wish they would just pull in the reins a touch and focus on those before we all get scared away.
This is a limited release of 3180 bottles. All BenRiachs tasted on the mission can be found HERE.
Old soft peaches, gummy bears, subdued sherry spice and sweet smoke. Lemon zest, fudge and a big cushion of peat.
Oak, old library books, toffeed malt and puffs of peat smoke. Floral among the dense earthiness. Drying sherry with herbs and some spice. Plastic and petrol in the finish, which I really enjoyed, against a oily background of hazelnuts, ginger and smoke.
Smoke, sherry, flowers and petrol. Really interetsing stuff, and so drinkable. There has been a similar sweet and sour element to all three of these BenRiach peated wood finishes, with the second maturation adding particular ornamentation, taking the flavour profiles in three distinct directions. But you can sense the consistent distillery character beneath it all, which I found really interesting. I would have to try these as a part of an evening to decide which was my favourite, but I can say it was probably not the port finished one.
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