Words: Aly Mathers
When BenRiach announced that they would be adding a range of cask strength whiskies to their core range, to say I was excited would be an understatement. BenRiach has always been a favourite distillery of mine as they have never been afraid to experiment. Whether that be with messing about with cask finishes, unashamedly releasing young drams in their single cask range or simply adding a great whack of Speyside peat to the mix, they have never backed down when it comes to pushing boundaries.
This new release – Batch One – will be the first of many from the distillery and is bottled at a natural cask strength of 57.2% abv.
COLOUR: Bright gold.
NOSE: Sweet and fresh orange zest straight off the bat and ooh it’s zingy! Edgy spices come through first: cloves, cardamon and cinnamon. There’s a lot of sweetness to the nose as it opens up with rich fudge, caramel sauce and warm vanilla all coming together and sitting rather nicely below the sharper, spicier top notes. And eventually, a healthy dose of nutty characteristics to add depth. All very mouth watering!
TASTE: Well that doesn’t disappoint. Where there wasn’t too much alcohol on the nose, it’s certainly present as it hits your tongue. It’s sharp and dry and there is a great wave of charred oak chips (almost smokey? Nah, maybe not…) The BenRiach distillery character makes an appearance at this point showcasing green apples, overripe pears and sticky honey. Each sips adds a soft layer of vanilla, without ever getting too sweet. Yum.
FINISH: A lovely, warming finish where the dry spices settle on the palate and lend themselves nicely to the heat of the alcohol. This is not a scary dram at all at 57.2% abv and is actually very, very drinkable.
VERDICT: I am not disappointed. Big on both flavour and style and at a very affordable price this is will be finding it’s way into my personal collection for sure. This is a really tasty release from BenRiach and a must for any fans of the Glendronach Cask Strength range, or any other heavy sherry cask strengthers. More of these please!