Single malt whisky - tasting notes

22 Oct 2012

BenRiach 1976 (cask #6967)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: BenRiach

Let’s not beat around the bush, the latest batch of BenRiach bottlings (batch n°9) was not a big hit. At first we were delighted to see three casks from the legendary vintage 1976 (peated cask #8804, Pedro Ximénez cask #5317 and this classic Speyside cask #6967) but quickly the rumour went round that there were very few highlights. Let’s find out. This release was distilled 14th of October 1976 and matured in a sherry butt.

 

BenRiach 1976 cask #6967BenRiach 35 yo 1976 (59%, OB 2012, sherry butt #6967, 339 btl.)

Nose: it plays the card of sherry very openly. A lot of plums, cherries and toffee. Polished cedar wood. Cinnamon. Eucalyptus and tobacco notes. Nice but far away from the tropical fruitiness of the best 1976s – although we have to say it’s close to cask #6942 which was very good in its genre.  Some sour oranges, leading to a sourness of balsamic vinegar. Mouth: very oaky, just spicy oak at first but quickly taken over by tannic, bitter oak. Some espresso and herbal tea. Bitter chocolate. Too leafy really. Not much fruit, only bitter grapefruit, and overloaded with cough syrup. Oversherried I’m afraid. Finish: dry and fairly bitter, with too many herbal notes and not enough fruitiness.

Not a classic fruity 76 style, and even when you compare it to the other heavily sherried cask #6942, it’s clearly on a lower level. The otherwise strong nose can’t save it, on the palate there’s simply too much oak. Mind that the score is rather forgiving and focusing on the nose. Around € 350.

Score: 88/100

 

 

ps/  Last year’s 1976 was € 230 a bottle… No comment.

BenRiach 1976 (cask #6967) 4 Ruben Luyten 2012-10-22
  • S.

    Hello Ruben,
    FINALLY you have been able to get hold of this 1976 Benriach sample that I’ve been anticipating on your website for QUITE a while now!
    I just wanted to thank you for having reviewed it and made it clear that it isn’t quite as good (for your opinion) as the 1976 Benriach #6942 from last year which is the one I have.
    I’m pretty happy because both casks are now practically sold out!
    From this year, I’ve got the 1976 Lightly Peated #8804, the 1983 Exclusive to Asta Morris (which you already reviewed) and the 1977 Sauternes Finish (which Jeroen from thebondingdram.eu recommended me.)
    Let me know if you want some feedback on the Sauternes F. (when I open it I don’t know when.)
    The 76 PX Finish is REALLY NICE, but the “exotic tropical fruits” are still a bit compromised by the NICE sweet wood spices from the PX cask; there are also some NICE old woody and leathery components.
    Cheers!
    S.

  • S.

    Hello Ruben,
    I am writing to you concerning the point you made on this post about batch 9 of Benriach Single Casks not being a big hit and I just wanted to share with you Whisky and Benriach lovers that I popped yesterday the bottle of 1977 Benriach Sauternes Finish Cask 2593 at 44.2% from that same batch of Single Casks and it is slightly tainted with Sulphur would you believe! Jim Murray on his Whisky Bible also made the same point about the Whisky being tainted with Sulphur and I’ll certainly have to agree with him on this one!
    My personal version of the taint is an eggyness (boiled egg) aroma slightly more pronounced on the nose than on the palate but still persent in the mouth. Basically, Billy Walker has has just slightly tainted 34 years of American Oak maturation with an X amount of months of finishing period in a Sauternes Cask! Not very clever!.. I don’t know how it got released and approved for bottling as Single Cask to be honnest!
    Beneath the taint is a GOOD, but quite woody Whisky with nice rich, sweet and unctuous butterscotch, toffee, caramel, hard toffee, herbal mintiness, a bit of nicely cooked pear tarte with sweet nutty almond/marzipan, a very faint and distant whiff of smoke, old wooden barrel, dry oak spices, leather, black pepper, tobacco, wild honey (Thyme honey, Chestnut honey), treacle, liquorice, Cola sticks, all very complex and powerful for 44.2% but too altered/marked/pronounced by the Sauternes finishing period which I think spent FAR TOO LONG in the Sauternes Barrel. The colour of the Whisky is quite self explanatory and proves my point I think.

    At this moment, this is the only Benriach single cask from batch 9 that I have tried. I also wrote this post because I am a bit upset after having spent the money that I spent on this one.

    2011′s 1989 Benriach Sauternes Finish (batch 8) was MUCH BETTER, cleaner and purer (A SUCCESS) and the 1992 Tawny Port finish, CLEAN, but FAR TOO WINEY, dark and overdone. The 1980 Virgin Oak finish (also from 2011′s batch 8) was also overdone and spent too long in the virgin oak.

    Hit and miss…

    S.

  • WhiskyNotes

    Thanks for your reply Selim. IMHO you don’t pour a 1977 whisky into a Sauternes cask unless something was wrong with it already. So I’m not surprised it isn’t top-notch. Wine finishes are always hit or miss if you ask me, you never really know beforehand.

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