...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Benriach 34 year old 1968 Duncan Taylor, cask 2592

Firstly, many many thanks to Jordan who generously provided this sample, like a half decade ago (at least). Please see his review here.

One often has to go to the independent bottlers to find an unedited Benriach. The vast majority of official Benriach releases (no matter the batch size) are from a mix of casks. Today's 34 year old Duncan Taylor is from a single bourbon cask. And judging by its tint it was not re-racked into a zippier barrel.

Wednesday's Benriach on the left, today's on the right

That's one of the lightest colored 30+ year old whiskies I've seen a long time. That's a great sign! Probably.

Distillery: Benriach
Bottler: Duncan Taylor
Series: Rare Auld
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Age: 34 years (November 1968 - June 2003)
Maturation: bourbon cask (I think)
Cask number: 2592
Outturn: 125 bottles, and this was bottle #1!
Alcohol by Volume: 48%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Coloring? No
(sample from Mr. CocktailChem, see above)

The nose is full of limes, citrons, minerals and plenty of barley. To my surprise, charcoal smoke drifts beneath the fruits. There's a gentle dunnage note, followed by moments of pineapple and ginger beer. 45 minutes later some fennel and peppery smoke appear. Lots of fruit in the palate as well. Think kiwi, lychee and nectarines. A little bit of butterscotch, a little bit of bitterness. It's increasingly tangy, slightly perfume-y,  and never too sweet. Though it does sweeten up in the finish. At first it was like liquefied Kasugai candies, but then the tart limes roll in, followed by some mild tannins.

I think I prefer this Benriach slightly over the official 25. Though it has kept its youthful barley heart, I like the feel of the old cask, especially in the nose. Or is it because I knew the whisky was 34 years old when I sipped it? The nose holds the most complexity, balancing the fruits, smoke, grains and staves the best. I didn't add water because the whisky read nicely at this strength and (again possibly influenced by my knowledge of the age statement) it felt like it would crumble when diluted. The thing about this Rare Auld series is it reminds me of the days when......aw damn it, I'm feeling nostalgic. I'd better stop while I'm ahead. Good whisky.

Availability - Sold out long ago
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88