Single malt whisky - tasting notes

03 Sep 2009

BenRiach 1976 (cask #3558 for The Whisky Fair)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: BenRiach

The second cask that was bottled for The Whisky Fair. Slightly higher strength, significantly higher out-turn. Let’s see how it compares to the BenRiach 1976 cask 3550.

BenRiach 1976 3558 - Whisky Fair

BenRiach 33yo 1976 (47,4%, OB for The Whisky Fair 2009, hogshead cask #3558, 162 btl.)

Nose: interesting how similar casks can play in the same league and still bring lots of differences. Vanilla is the key to this one, the fruit is sweeter and less tropical. At the same time, a bit more wood and more expressive notes of menthol. Vanilla again, fruit cake. More wood influence, which makes it a tad nuttier, “darker” and warmer. Less tangerine, less grapefruit. Hints of ginger. Mouth: now it gets taken over by the grapefruit, just like the #3550. Still a bit more vanilla and toffee. Spicier and more powerful, I would say. Pepper and ginger. Finish: slightly dry and minty. Grapefruit as well, you guessed it.


Well, difficult. Most other reviewers seem to prefer the BenRiach #3550. I must say I like both but the #3558 contains less dominant grapefruit and adds lovely vanilla which make it stand out a bit. The #3550 lacks a bit of punch as well (it seems younger, although that’s a ridiculous way of discribing it). Around € 190 (sold out).

Score: 93/100

BenRiach 1976 (cask #3558 for The Whisky Fair) 5 Ruben Luyten 2009-09-03
  • Johan

    Ok, the answer is ‘yes’ :-)
    I understand why you like cask 3558 a little more, it are indeed different whiskies (hurray to maturation!) and have both their own – and great – qualities. It’s just what appeals to you more. Les goûts et les couleurs… For me, the pure fruitiness of 3550 gave it a (very small) benefit over cask 3558, resulting in an opposite scoring. But I can imagine that in another time and place, it could be the other way round.

  • Luc Timmermans

    Yes, I totally agree. Both casks are wonderfull. The 3550 is more to my “daily” liking as well. More fruit…and mellower because of the missing woodspices in this one. The 3558 is perhaps a bit more robust and a bit rougher. Surely a fine dram….both are in fact great.

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1683 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.