Peat Unusual – BenRiach 25 year Authenticus Peated 46%

Last in our “Peat Unusual” evening was the beauty that inspired the evening in the 1st place! To recap, the goal was to sample peaty whiskies – other than Islay – that did not neatly follow conventional expectations of a Peaty dram.

Alas my notes from that evening were waylaid… however I had an opportunity to share a few remaining drops in another occasion… so what follows are those impressions.

BenRiach 25 year Authenticus Peated 46%

  • Nose – An initial whiff of surfer that then disappeared. Sherry sweet, peat, medicinal, green apple like a Granny Smith, cranberry juice (the tart kind not cough syrupy sweet type), juicy tart, dried hay
  • Palate – Lots going on, grassy and herbal, taste like tobacco, coriander seeds, light rancio, unmistakable peat yet equally rich and robust with other dimmensions too
  • Finish – Whiff of smoke, fabulously long and lovely

Overall we found it to be a brilliant dram. Complex, nuanced, mature and having a sophistication few whiskies achieve.

To put it mildly, this whisky was in a completely different league than the others.

And what do the folks over at BenRiach have to say?

  • Appearance: Bright, warm amber gold.
  • Nose: Elegant aromas of ripe pineapple, fresh mountain herbs and a profusion of sweet peat. A huge pungent blast of peat smoke emerges, partnering the peated element perfectly. Full bodied and audacious.
  • Palate: A fantastic fusion of rich peat and smouldering embers bound together by fresh herbs – oregano, aniseed and chicory in particular. A rush of sweet, wild honey provides a lovely contrast to this lively, intense expression.
  • Conclusions: Terrific weight and development which leaves a powerful long lasting impression on the palate.

I know this whisky was picked up at The Whisky Exchange in 2016 where it can be purchased for approx 225. I was impatiently waiting for the appropriate occasion to try… what a wonderful evening of seated whiskies.

Our “peat unusual” whiskies featured:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BMC Peat Unusual – Alisa Bay, Ledaig “Very Cloudy”, Loch Lomond Peated, BenRiach 25 Peated

It is finally slipping into “winter” (by Indian standards), with the pollution smog haze rarely lifting, and somehow the weather and climatic conditions seem to be influencing whisky preferences… to peat.

And no ordinary peat… an exploration of a few whiskies one would not normally have on the top peat picks list from regions not immediately associated with peat. Because why should our familiar friends over in Islay corner the market when other options exist?

As this was a BMC session, we had no pretence of hiding the bottles… instead merrily dove in to our discoveries eyes wide-open!

Our “peat unusual” whiskies….

Our host shared that it began with acquiring the BenRiach 25 year peated… and morphed from there… each selected to be peat with a twist.

For example, you don’t typically find BenRiach whiskies peated…

Then it continued with Loch Lomond – again not normally peated….

So why Ledaig you may ask? By their “nature” Ledaig is Tobermoray’s peaty whiskies. Yes indeed. However the “Very Cloudy” Vintage 2008 is known to have a lighter dusting of peat rather than full force peat one normally associates with a Ledaig….

And Alisa Bay? Not only is it newer to market as a single malt, it breaks with typical Lowland convention to combine peat with sweet…

Then our evening closed with cigars. How perfect!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Sinful Samples – Bunnahabhan, Tullibardine, Millstone, Glendronach, Wolfburn

Tis the season to be jolly… and all that jazz! Yet before all the mad social rounds of the season kicked off, we snuck in a completely chilled out informal sampling of samples…

Call it a “Pajama Drams” night, it had no formality just a few folks, more than a few samples to put side by side to provoke some interesting tasting experiences…

What did we try?

It may seem like a prodigious amount for one sitting but we were a disciplined lot… some sniffing, swishing and spitting went on plus a few swallows, discarding the balance. Sacralige to some but sensible for us.

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Peaty Mini – BenRiach Peaty Quarter Cask 46%

Next in our miniatures sampling was a little nip from a recent trip to Canada. After some disastrous experiences with decent drams being devastated by poor storage, I was keen to shorten the gap between acquiring the sample and actually tasting it!

BenRiach Peat Quarter Cask 46%

Here’s what we found:

  • Nose – Peppery peat of a style that is “quite forward”, cinnamon apple crumble, chased by delicious oily bacon
  • Palate – Christmas peat, plum cake, very sweet
  • Finish – Spice sweet, cinnamon

Each sip tells a different whisky – the kind of one we wished we had more of to continue to explore.

We also tried it in the Norlan glass – it smoothed out the palate, yet punched up the flavours, gently rounding and bringing out a dry quality.

And what do the folks at BenRiach have to say?

This UNIQUE single malt has been distilled from PEATEDmalted barley and has been FULLY matured in quarter casks. A smaller cask allows for more INTERACTION between the wood and the spirit, giving the whisky a great depth of flavour and aroma in a shorter period of time. Bottled at 46%, non chill filtered and natural colour, this is an EXTRAORDINARY, full-flavoured dram.

  • Nose – Elegant waves of wood smoke intensify to burning heather with a delicious contribution of ripe orchard fruits. Subtle hints of peaches, cinnamon sugar and a slight herbal note of fresh barley give an added contrast to the unique, rich peat character.
  • Taste – Intense peat smoke mellows to smouldering peat embers infused with green pear and nectarine notes. Nutty oak and vanilla pods combine with a touch of white pepper and a twist of lime to give a crisp, smoky finish.

We sampled from a sample from an open bottle in October 2017… The original bottle was opened on my wedding in June 2017, purchased at a Winnipeg Liquor Store for approx $107.

And what else did we sample in our merry mini malts evening?

And here’s more malt miniatures from my The Whisky Exchange:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Minis of a peaty persuasion

It has been some time since the collection of minis were attacked! The collection came out with the intent to focus on whiskies of a peatier persuasion…

And what did we select?

What was remarkable was the range of peats we discovered…

After all this, we rewarded ourselves with a Machir Bay – no tasting notes, just pure unadulterated enjoyment!!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Krishna Collection – BenRiach 20 year (1994/2014) 54.7%

Last in an evening with Krishna Nakula, India’s Malt Maniac, was a whisky from BenRiach

Photo: Scotch Whisky Auctions - note image is for Cask 806 not 808

Photo: Scotch Whisky Auctions – note image is for Cask 806 not 808

BenRiach 20 year (1994/2014) 54.7%

Cask No 808 Olorosso Sherry Peated OB for Taiwan Bottle 84/678

  • Nose – Peaty, sherry, brine, sweet spice, heather and flowers
  • Palate – Smooth, peat, a little spice, very well balanced
  • Finish – Lovely

One of those whiskies that sound like the different elements would not go together, but somehow do. The interplay of sherry and peat works wonderfully and was a worthy close to our evening.

Other whiskies sampled that evening with Krishna included:

Other BenRiach whiskies sampled so far include:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BenRiach 15 year (1999/2015) Cask #44016, 55.1%

So… what was the whisky recommended at Toad in the Hole pub’s Whisky Bar? A limited release BenRiach sold only in Manitoba at our provincial liquor mart.

Yup… you read that correctly. The independent whisky makers over at the BenRiach distillery decided Manitobans deserved their very own cask #44016.

BenRiach 1999

BenRiach 15 year (1999/2015) 55.1%

Cask no 44016, bottle 163 of 208

  • Nose – Warm cinnamon, pears, butter pecan, soft rum, apple crisp… think warm butterscotch
  • Palate – Very approachable – a little nutty, vanilla and cream “I’m in my happy place now”… imagine that butterscotch now generously poured over a high quality rich high-fat vanilla ice cream
  • Finish – Quite pleasant with light dancing nutty spice

The only problem? It was gone too quickly!

On the bottle, it was described as:

Green apple skins and pears complemented by a lively barley character, all warmed by a gentle spice finish with overtones of almond and vanilla. 

Here is what the Manitoba Liquor Mart has to say:

EXCLUSIVE to Manitoba Liquor Mart! This specially selected product has been resting in a first-fill Bourbon cask in the famed Scottish Speyside region from 1999 until its bottling in April, 2015. On the nose a sweet floral oak note explodes to heather-honey, lemon, apples and poached pears, all of which is surrounded by the richness of dark vanilla pod, toasted coconut and notes of crème brûlée. On the palate, green apple skins and pears are complemented by a lively barley character, all warmed by a gentle spice finish with overtones of almond and vanilla.

 As for me? Very happy to have the privilege of sampling this dram!

Other BenRiach tastings:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BenRiach 17 year Septendecim 46%

Ah.. time to return to the Canadian Stash… Next up? BenRiach Septendecim or 17 year to us ordinary folks! This sample came compliments of my aunt and uncle.

Now, this is not my first introduction to BenRiach. Nope. A few years ago our our merry malt gang sampled the 16 year and then on a trip to Singapore in 2015, I went straight for the remarkable BenRiach 21 year (1988) 54.8%.

Both of these BenRiach avatars followed more of a ‘classic’ Speyside style and eschewed heavy peat. Not so the latin series – these are full on peat – and Septendecim is reputed to be an excellent example. I simply had to dive in!

BenRiach 17 year (Whisky Lady's uncle)

BenRiach 17 year (Whisky Lady’s uncle)

BenRiach Septendecim 46%:

  • Colour – Light straw
  • Nose – Oh yum! If you want peaty, robust deliciousness, this hits the spot. Some sweet vanilla custard, cinnamon and nutmeg spice, cedar, a hint of citrus or apples yet overall light on the fruit element and heavier on the pipe tobacco quality followed by a drizzle of honey
  • Taste – Sweet pipe tobacco, lotsa chewy leathery peat peat peat, some vanilla….
  • Finish – Smokey, cinnamon and cloves, black pepper
  • Water – Even sweeter, tames the flame but brings the smoke out even more

Definitely delivers a heavily peated, richer and more robust character.

The nose is quite superb – peaty perfection that is neither in your face nor holds back from giving you a chance to revel in it. However with such fabulous aromas, the palate is somewhat wanting… falling slightly short of what the nose promises. As it evolves into its finish, it goes up again several notches.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid dram and well worth sipping… it simply had the potential for ‘Wow!’ complexity and depth yet instead landed just shy of that. Might be worth a revisit though.

Here’s what the distiller has to say:

The new 17 year-old has been matured only in ex-bourbon casks and continues BenRiach’s quirky trend of using Latin names – such as Authenticus, Curiositas and Heredotus Fumosus – for its richly-peated expressions.

  • Colour – The colour is rich summer gold with a freshly harvested barley impression.
  • Nose – It’s full of energy and vibrancy – a complex mix of fresh peaty aromas constructed around a central core of apples and toasted nuts dowsed in wild mountain honey.
  • Palate  – It gives sweet concentrated peat flavours which dominate from the start. Bold and intense, the peaty heart is united with honey-infused raisins, roasted nuts and a luxurious leather impression.

Here’s what others say:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BenRiach 16 year 40%

In recent years, BenRiach has been playing around with peated expressions, however to get a real sense of the distillery, nothing beats sampling one of their classic Speyside drams.

BenRiach 16 year (Whisky Lady)

BenRiach 16 year (Whisky Lady)

I sampled this 16 year in March 2015 after our Paul John Indian whisky evening. It was just a quick sip or two but as I was in the ‘note taking’ mode, jotted down a few impressions…

BenRiach 16 year 40%

  • Nose – Honey, vanilla, floral sweet, all those lovely Speyside fruity floral fun
  • Taste – Cream, buttery toffee, apples, hint of something more… is that a whisp of smoke? Followed by a hint of herbs
  • Finish – Light and enjoyable with a dash of caramel

Here’s what the folks over at BenRiach have to say:

This smooth single malt has an elegant full taste and aroma that captures fruity floral notes, with fascinating overtones of honey, vanilla, spices, toffee and apples.

  • Nose – Honey, vanilla, floral, fruity with well balanced wood overtones.
  • Taste – Rounded medium to full bodied, rich honey, vanilla with hints of cream, spices, toffee and apples.

What others say:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

BenRiach 21 year 1988 Cask No 4423 54.8%

Next up in our Scottish sample at The Auld Alliance was a BenRiach limited release exclusive to Singapore.

20150604_The BenRiach 1988

BenRiach 21 years 1988 Cask No 4423 54.8% (bottle 19 of 269) 

  • Nose – Sweet honey suckle, soft, romantic, a symphony of scents with figs, dates, treacle. A ‘nice’ whisky…
  • Taste – Swung from sweet to spice, bursting with cinnamon and cardamoms, then fennel. Full of such a distinctively spicy character.
  • Finish – Remained on the spicy side
  • Overall – Clearly without peat, the final feeling was more of delicious spice rather than the sweet nose

What we appreciated most was the deceptively soft sweet nose which then made us stand up and pay attention with the spice. All in all a rather ‘nice’ dram!

Other whiskies sampled as part of our Scottish quartet included:

If in Singapore, check out The Auld Alliance at:

  • 9 Bras Basah Road, RendezVous Hotel, Gallery #02-02A, SINGAPORE 189559 
  • Tel: +65 6337 2201

Related posts:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: