...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, May 3, 2019

BenRiach Authenticus 25 year old

Killing Whisky History will return next week, probably. In its place is a review of......a whisky!

Last week I wrote about my desire to drink something remarkable, as well as the reasonable realization that I didn't need to buy another beautiful whisky because of the unopened gems in my whisky cabinet.

Then I bought a whisky. As much as I critique how deeply this spirits community has become addicted to consumption, I am often bitten by the bug as well. Usually, I don't follow through with the desire. This time I did.

I fully trust Billy Walker's work with peated BenRiach. Not only did he have high quality stock on hand, but he did a great job putting a unique (and tasty) range together via blending, finishing or both. Those great single malts with the silly names also feed my disappointment over his later Glendronach choices and the new Glenallachie range. But I already wrote about what doesn't work.

This whisky works.

NOTE: This review is from a purchased sample. The above bottle just came in yesterday.

Distillery: BenRiach
Ownership at time of distillation: Seagrams Distillers
Ownership at time of bottling: The Benriach Distillery Company
Ownership at time of review: Brown-Forman
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Age: at least 25 years
Maturation: bourbon casks and oloroso casks
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

Lovely notes of mango, orange creamsicle, honeydew, brown sugar, toffee pudding and new blossoms harmonize with smoked meats, pipe tobacco, fresh hay and baking spices in the nose. The palate is bolder, smokier. A joint at the beach. Green peppercorns, herbal bitter liqueur, cocoa powder and piles of earth. Delicate notes of kiwi and citrons survive throughout. The smoked meat note returns in the finish, mingling with bitters and dried herbs. It's also radiantly tangy, with moments of pineapple, lemon peel and roses.

Adverbs and asides threaten to swallow my handwritten notes: "Can a smell be luminous?", "Kilkerran @ 25?", etc. That tends to happen when a whisky leaves me giddy. This is the best noser I've come across in a long time. The palate flexes a graceful power reminiscent of earlier versions of Laphroaig 25yo CS, though much different in style. "Age with vigor." ← another note.

Quality is what makes BenRiach Authenticus 25 year old luxurious, not its age nor price. (It would clobber the unpeated BenRiach 35.) I thought Authenticus 21 was great. This is a step above.

Availability - A few American retailers, dozens of European retailers
Pricing - Europe: $200-$300; USA: $500
Rating - 92

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