Aged Spirits  

Fahrenheit 173 - Aged Spirits

"If it's not good enough to drink slowly, then it's not worth drinking"

Six single cask bottlings of Benriach single malt whisky

 19 Jun 2011  

I'm still working my way through my backlog of samples... This time I've tasted six vintage Benriachs:

Benriach 1994 cask 4023, 14 y.o. (OB, 53.5%):
Fragrant, voluptuous nose with plenty of vanilla, lime and oak shavings. Nice, light, fresh palate with vanilla and citrus, sweet at first but drying, de­velops oak. Oaky, spicy finish with notes of cinnamon and ginger. Aged in new, "virgin" wood which has imparted quite a bit of oak (but not too much) and a very in­ter­est­ing character. (87 p)

Benriach 1990 cask 1779, 17 y.o. (Dewar Rattray, 61.6%):
Oaky, malty nose with citrus fruits, orange marmalade and vanilla, also a hint of wood smoke - nice but the insistent oak almost overshadows the fruits. The palate is at first sweet with orange and honey, then de­velops oak and pepper but also a nice note of mint. Oaky finish. All in all fairly nice but a bit too oaky. (83 p)

Benriach 1986 cask 3182, bottled 2009 (OB for PLOWED, 56.1%):
Fairly heavy nose with a strong PX sherry influence (like in some Spanish brandies). Notes of dried fruits, brown sugar and oak but also lighter notes of citrus and mint against a background of wood smoke. Rich, sweet, smooth palate. A little smoky at first, then sweetness and dried fruits take over (raisins, plums) and finally it's drying and de­velops oak and citrus. Oaky finish with notes of mint and liqourice. All in all complex and quite unusual but a bit extreme! (88 p)

Benriach 1985 cask 5501, 23 y.o. (Signatory, 49.0%):
Fruity, very nice nose with citrus, apricot and melon, also custard and a little oak. Very nice palate: sweet and fruity (fruity candy) with fresh oak shavings providing structure. It's light, restrained and beautifully bal­anced. The finish is oaky yet rather nice. (90 p)

Benriach 1976 cask 3558, 33 y.o. (OB for The Whisky Fair, 47.4%):
Rather nice nose with light notes of citrus and custard offset by heavier notes of oak and marzipan. The palate is rich, sweet and malty at first, then hot with oaky spices and dark chocolate, then de­velops fresh notes of wild berries - fascinating! Very nice finish with light fruity notes of mango and clementine, also oak and mint. It's complex to the point of being splintered. Best without water. (92 p)

Benriach 1976 cask 8795, 33 y.o. (OB, 53.2%):
Dense, secretive nose, oaky with notes of wood smoke, black pepper and mint, some citrus coming through faintly. Light, sweet palate with won­der­ful fruity notes (mango, melon, pear). De­velops oak in a beautiful bal­ance. Wonderful finish with tropical fruits. Fascinating whisky, as the nose gives no clue to the wonders that lie ahead (the nose is also its only weakness). (93 p)

Thanks to Bernhard for the samples of the two 1976's!

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