09 Jan 2013
BenRiach 1976 (cask #963 for The Whisky Agency)
Posted by: Ruben In: BenRiach
2013 will be the year of the last single casks of BenRiach 1976 bottled for third-parties. There were 16 casks of this vintage left in the warehouses when Serge had the big 1976 tasting last year. In the meantime eight have been sold, four of which to Dutch retailers and the Usquebaugh Society. I was told the remaining stock will only be used for the official releases (not all of them reach the level necessary for a single cask bottling though – the best expressions should be out there already). Soon this will be an extinct vintage.
This sherry hogshead (was it really #963 or maybe #6963 which seems more logical?) was bottled for The Whisky Agency. Based on the colour, I guess it will be in the same category as cask #6942 or cask #6967 – those are expressions with heavier sherry influence than most other 1976’s.
BenRiach 36 yo 1976 (49,6%, OB for The Whisky Agency 2012, sherry hogshead #963, 132 btl.)
Nose: very fruity, although indeed it shows dried fruits rather than the legendary tropical fruitiness. Juicy raisins, damson plums, and mixed berry jams (blueberry, redcurrant, raspberry). Beautiful sherry elements like leather and nuts as well. Cinnamon. Elegant oak polish to round it off. Mouth: very fruity again (oranges, cherries, hints of pink grapefruit). If you pay attention, the tropical fruitiness is still there, but it’s behind a more upfront layer of sherry. Some toasted oak, within limits. A little coffee and herbs. Christmas cake. Dark chocolate. Finish: maybe not the longest finish, but nicely balanced between dried fruits and oak spices.
I really liked cask #6942 and I’m happy to see this is certainly on the same level. Maybe the nose is even slightly juicier and fresher. Beautiful selection, but remember there are fewer tropical fruits to be found so it’s less classical. Around € 350, on its way to stores but I doubt many of them will actually appear on the shelves.