These are the drams I spend my time hunting for. Whiskies that defy the number on the bottle, somehow fall under what I consider an acceptable budget threshold and manage to bring sexy back to the taste buds. Unfortunately, in this age of so-called ‘mature malt shortages’, these types of drams are becoming more and more scarce. The reality is that the premium levied on every additional year of maturity seems to be increasing exponentially faster than my salary is rising.
Much like playing out the grasshopper and the ant scenario (stashing away bottles now for the tough seasons ahead), the distilleries seen to be embracing an old adage themselves: make hay while the sun shines. They are wringing every drop of profit out of each grain of barley. It’s up to the discerning consumer to do their homework and suss out the gems. Caveat emptor, and all that.
You can only imagine then, how much of a treat it is to discover a malt like this one. A 13 year old single cask of BenRiach bottled at 55.6%, not colored and non chill-filtered. And to make it even more of a homerun…it came home with me for about $75 Canadian.
This is an absolute showcase of just what is possible when good spirit goes into an alpha bourbon barrel. Proof positive that BenRiach, as we’ve long trumpeted, puts out great single casks. Especially those of clean, mature bourbon barrels. This is a great whisky at a very ripe age. Credit to all involved.
Nose: Touch of toasted coconut. Touch of pineapple. Vanilla cream. Ginger and cinnamon. Chewy red candy. Danish pastries. Toasted meringue. Cranberry and white chocolate. Clean warm suede. Lightly toasted oak.
Palate: Bold, but soft arrival explodes into flavours. Grilled pineapple on wooden skewers. Lemon bars. Pepper. Big bourbon notes. Eucalyptus. Dark vanilla. White chocolate over apple slices.
Thoughts: 13 year old whisky has no business having notes like this. The pseudo tropicals of pineapple and coconut are nuances that belong in much older whiskies from similar casking. One of my absolute favorite sub-fifteen year old malts. Glad I have one more bottle put aside for the future.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt