THREE superb new expressions from The BenRiach Distillery Company Limited. Three examples of Master Distiller Billy Walker’s unique ability to marry whisky with wood to create complex, sublime drams.
From BenRiach itself come two intriguing single malts – the BenRiach 15 years old Sauternes finish and the BenRiach 18 years old Albariza which is a peated whisky finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks from Southern Spain.
And from its sister distillery GlenDronach there’s a new 18 years old Marsala cask finish which owes its distinctive flavour to the influence of a small number of Marsala hogsheads.
All three expressions are available from today (February 19).
The BenRiach 15 years old Sauternes wood finish is matured in the traditional style in American bourbon barrels, then finished in Sauternes casks from the Bordeaux region of France. Sauternes gives its name to an award-winning dessert wine and the finishing effect on the whisky is stunning, as the tasting notes reveal.
Colour: Rich antique gold.
Nose: Apricot jam and warm, peppery oak hold touches of crisp grape and mellow honeydew melon.
Taste: Golden plums and nectarines balanced by contrasting waves of toasted oak and grape seed followed by a delicate back note of ground almonds and butterscotch.
The BenRiach Albariza is distilled from peated malted barley, matured in American oak casks and then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The whisky has been named after the white soil with high chalk content whose characteristics make it the best type of soil for growing grapes used in the production of sherry. This whisky combines the distinctive BenRiach aroma of peat with a silky sherry sweetness to make it a memorable dram.
Colour: Rich burnt amber.
Nose: Sweet dates and ripe figs engulfed in a unique heather honeyed peat smoke, softening to hints of ripped herbs and sweet barley.
Taste: A sweet, sherried character holds lashings of vanilla, chocolate and rum-soaked raisins, all drenched with waves of intense campfire peat reek and a subtle white pepper and stem ginger warmth.
And the trio is completed with the GlenDronach 18 years old Marsala cask finish. This unique expression was initially matured in European oak casks and thereafter finished its maturation in a small batch of Marsala hogsheads.
The aromatic influence of the Italian fortified wine cask on the sweet Highland malt whisky is spectacular, creating a new layer of depth that stunningly marries together summer fruits with peppery oak spice.
Colour: Rich burnt amber edged with sparkling gold.
Nose: Golden syrup over stewed orchard fruits infused with a touch of candied ginger, hazelnut and warm, deep oak spices.
Taste: Richly-spiced wildflower honey pours over fire-roasted apples, softening to golden sultanas and ripe pear. All balanced with vibrant ginger, white pepper, fresh-cut oak and stewed barley.
Keep an eye on our websites (www.glendronachdistillery.com and www.benriachdistillery.co.uk) and Facebook pages over the coming weeks for more information on these new releases, tasting notes and exclusive product photography.