BenRiach Classic Cask Strength Batch 2
Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland
Reviewed December 21, 2020 (edited October 23, 2021)
Note - I'm doing the Really Good Whisky Company Advent Calendar. I've also decided to pour these whiskeys "blind" (or at least as blind as I can), then providing nose, palate, and finish notes. I'll then look at the label, proof, cask type, etc. before writing my other notes. I'll be providing some guesses around things like proof and cask type and then seeing how much I missed the mark. Slàinte Mhath! Nose: Hints of herbs, barrel char, and just a hint of malt must. Honey, dried hay. Plenty of oak weaved in here along with a good ethanol kick. Guessing this is 48%. The amount of oak here tells me there's new oak and/or smaller casks. Green apples but no banana - single malt? 10-15 years old? Underripe dark fruits. Chocolate covered blueberries. Sweet vanilla and citrus oils. Palate: Getting definite sherry here without being syrupy. A little maple shows up. Also some floral and herbal character woven through. Speyside maybe? Black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and sun-dried tomatoes. Chocolate covered raisins. Big and bold, this is pretty well balanced, hitting the back palate pretty heavily. Medium mouthfeel. Finish: Big swell of ethanol that's cooling as I exhale - did I underestimate the proof on this? Maybe we're closer to 55%? Chocolate covered raisins, mint, sweet basil. As those drift off, the oak shows up and the tannins really stand out. Leather and funky pipe tobacco hang around for a long time - definitely a long finish, with oil content to spare. It just keeps going, with hot cinnamon and nutmeg joining the party. This would be a trip in some 'nog. Other notes: Another one I'm proud of - picked up on the virgin oak and ex-sherry. Also got the region. While this is NAS, this was comprised of casks that were from 2006, 2007, and 2008 and then blended together in 2018, so I was close-ish with age. Proof, however... I'm reminded of my struggles with the early days of the advent, getting tripped up on high proof and high oak. Still got with 5%, so I'm not too mad about it. This isn't necessarily the most complex experience. And it's certainly isn't subtle. But what it does have is very well constructed - this is a good whisky, and if you're a proof hound like me I think you'd like what's going on here. As I'm typing these closing notes, the finish is still going from my last sip. A solid recommend from me, and another one to add to my list of "if I come across it, I'll definitely think about it" list. Cheers!