"A beautiful collision between Scottish storms and Madeira sunshine among the treasures of BenRiach's earlier releases, something to cherish during a stormy day on the beach"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
In July 2008, the re-born Benriach Distillery released 3,400 bottles of a peated spirit that was transfered for its final maturation to casks that previously contained madeira wine from the bodega Henriques and Henriques. This release was part of a series of ‘wood finishes’, consisting of both non-peated and peated versions, which helped to put the new independent owners on the map. The stocks of peated whisky, rarely found in Speyside distilleries, remained from the time that Chivas owned the distillery and produced peated BenRiach for their blends. These ‘unusual’ BenRiach bottlings proved that not only Islay distilleries are able to produce heavily peated whiskies, on the contrary, Speyside has its own thing to say about peat. Unfortunately, these BenRiach versions are now becoming scarce, as the stocks appear to slowly reach the bottom. Recently released peated BenRiach bottlings belong to a more premium range, as rices have risen above €70. Let’s hope, the new owners have also chosen to put peated spirit in their casks, so that we can expect more affordable peated whisky from this distillery. For now it seems that we have to cherish the previous affordable bottles we still have in our collection.
Sweet smoke and fresh tropical fruitiness directly appear with pineapple, melon, unripe mango, fresh white wine, and citrus. Slightly earthy and sandy, like asphalt on a hot summer day. The smoke becomes heavier over time, while notes of orange chocolate also appear. The full madeira notes remain with smoke lingering around them.
Begins shortly with fruity notes, but then the smoke explodes, which is completely different the Islay version. The fruitiness fights back with notes of sappy and fruity pineapple, mango, coconut and melon, all deeply sweet (but not too). Dry fruits, milk and pure chocolate, melon wrapped in smoked bacon, spiced honey. The fruity nature of the malt become stronger when the bottle is opened for a while. In the finish the smoke sticks to the tongue and explodes one more time.
A full flavoured, explosive, but carefully balanced whisky. A beautiful collision between Scottish storms and Madeira sunshine. This is how you want to see a second maturation working out for your whisky. Well done!
A bottle was purchased from
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •