Batch 11 of the BenRiach single casks, released in 2014, included two 1976 expressions. One was peated (cask #5463), this one unpeated (cask #529).
More surprising though was the maturation: both were initially matured in sherry casks but they were finished in bourbon barrels. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this – it’s always the other way around.
A couple of years ago, it was clear that there were very few BenRiach 1976 casks left (16 casks in 2012, and since then +/- 10 more have been bottled). There were also rumours that the leftovers were getting a bit past their prime, which could explain why we’re now seeing unusual finishes, in an attempt to add something extra. Anyway, we’re curious.
BenRiach 37 yo 1976
(44,2%, OB 2014, bourbon finish, cask #529, 183 btl.)
Nose: we have the classic apricots and oranges, with just echoes of tropical fruits (mango). Instead there are surprising elements of bourbon whiskey: leather and toasted oak, hints of vanilla and banana. A touch of mint. Unexpected but good.
Mouth: starts spicy and oaky, with hints of cloves and wood juice, but in a second wave there are the wonderful fruity notes: pineapple, bags of tangerines and pink grapefruit, light passion fruits. Plum compote. Hints of vanilla syrup and light mint.
Finish: not too long. A bit of woody sourness, coconut and a hint of dark chocolate.
I’m not sure why they transferred this to a bourbon barrel: the typical tropical notes are there but now they have to compete with spicy oak and bourbonny touches. Still very good. It’s still available for around € 600.