Joel and Neil, the two guys running Caskstrength.net, are on a mission to bottle an A-Z of whisky. Their first bottling was an Arran 1998 and the second one, a BenRiach 1996, has just been released.
The spirit has been maturing in a bourbon hogshead until 2008, when it was transferred into a Pedro Ximénez cask. It’s bottled with a nice variation on the official label, and available exclusively from Master of Malt. They’ve sold almost half of the stock in less than a week so don’t wait too long if you’re interested.
BenRiach 16 yo 1996
(55,2%, OB for Caskstrength.net, PX sherry hogshead #5614, 296 btl.)
Nose: starts in a bourbonny way (I mean actual bourbon whiskey, not just the cask type) with fresh oak and Demerara sugar sweetness. Evolves on toffee and vanilla fudge. After a while lots of red currant, raisin and strawberry notes. Clearly finished, but in a very nice way. Soft spices.
Mouth: easy-going and fruity (berries again, grape juice, oranges). A little candy sugar. Then the same fresh oak and spices from the nose. Toffee. Some leather and mint. Gets a little fragrant and vinous at times but it never crosses the line.
Finish: medium long, drier, with some liquorice alongside some salted caramel.
It’s definitely finished, but it has been taken out of the cask at the right moment. A unique and very enjoyable mix of sherry and bourbon elements. Nice selection. Around € 70.