The BenRiach 35 Years Old, according to the distillery, is designed to compliment its award-winning 25 years old which came out in 2006, as a replacement for the 30 Year Old.
If we count back in time, the casks used for this whisky must have been filled in 1979 or earlier. Excellent years for The BenRiach (which was owned by Glenlivet back then), so I have high expectations.
It is a mix of bourbon and sherry casks.
BenRiach 35 yo (42,5%, OB 2014)
Nose: pretty wonderful. A big fruity core of ripe banana, dried apricots, oranges and raisins. Also the classic pink grapefruit and papaya that are so typical for BenRiach 1976, though more subtle. Pineapples in syrup. Hints of eucalyptus and mint. Lovely vanilla marshmallow in the background. Maybe dried flowers. Light spices (pepper and nutmeg) but the thick, sweet fruits are certainly up front.
Mouth: a little thinner, with more polished oak than on the nose. Some resinous / waxy notes. Milk chocolate and cinnamon. A slightly dry attack, but the second part of the palate is much better. The oaky notes disappear and what’s is left is just wonderful passion fruits, apricots, guava and tangerine.
Finish: long, fruity, with more chocolate and delicate oak spices.
This is the result of an exercise in balance. BenRiach has 1970’s casks with heavy sherry as well as from bourbon oak, there’s the unique fruitiness of 1976 and the minty / oaky profile of older vintages. This BenRiach 35 Year Old combines all of this in a harmonious expression. Well done. Around € 600.