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BenRiach 1994 Single Barrel

Distillery: BenRiach

Age: 22 years

Cask: Ex-bourbon

ABV: 52.7%

Distilled: July 15th, 1994

Nose: Grilled (slightly burnt) peaches, strawberry jam, pork fat, red wine tannins, cherrywood embers, tarragon.

Palate: Deliciously sweet red wine reduction, grilled pineapple, mango chutney with fresh hot peppers, sweet oak smoke, brown sugar. Long, spicy finish of roasted poblano peppers and cloves.

Overall: I tasted this semi blind (I knew it was BenRiach but nothing else) and was wondering if it was a sherry cask because of the red fruit notes and deep sweetness. I was mildly surprised it was just a bourbon cask but it does lack any sherry funk. I really enjoy the peat here, less smoke and more embers. But this does seem to veer into a burnt quality. On the nose this comes across as pleasant grilled fruit but by the finish it’s a bit like burnt green pepper skin. Like when you’re preparing poblanos for rajas con crema. I happen to like this but can see how it might throw off some folks. Besides this, so much of this dram is deep and rich and satisfying.


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