BenRiach 1976 (cask #529)

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 1976 single cask 529BenRiach 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.

Score: 91/100