BenRiach Cask Strength (batch 1)

It’s a mere coincidence that we’re trying a GlenDronach and now BenRiach, just as the distilleries (together with the third sister Glenglassaugh) have been sold to Brown-Forman, the American group which manages Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, Herredura and Jimador tequila, Chambord liqueur and other brands. In the past they have been involved in Glenmorangie as well, but all shares were sold in 2005.

I have the impression the sale causes worries among whisky enthusiasts: the independent consortium around Billy Walker did an incredible job putting their distilleries on the map over the past twelve years. It remains to be seen whether the American owners support the same idea of artisan quality and inventivity. Let’s just hope they won’t force the Scots to produce malt whisky the way they see it in Kentucky.


The BenRiach Cask Strength


The BenRiach recently followed the successful recipe of its sister distillery GlenDronach and presented a BenRiach Cask Strength, without an age statement but probably with a lot of punchy, typical flavours.



BenRiach Cask StrengthBenRiach Cask Strength
(57,2%, OB 2016, Batch #1)

Nose: very fruity, in an unexpectedly sweet way. Lots of red apples, apricot jam, honey and something reminding me of mango and pink grapefruit, but in the form of syrup. Strawberry and cream candy. Vanilla fudge and vague coconut cream. Also toasted oak and gentle spices.

Mouth: still sweet, but more oak and spices now too. Apples, peaches, honey and vanilla. Fresher lemons and a slightly waxy note. Candied ginger. Cinnamon pastry. The oak brings a slight dryness at full strength, but the sweetness can stand it. Water seems to balance this sweetness though, highlighting the (tropical) fruitiness.

Finish: long, sweet (duh), with almonds, orange syrup and vanilla.

A fairly modern, vanilla / syrup-infused, slightly pressure-cooked BenRiach. Flavoursome, punchy and very sweet, maybe a bit too much for some. Around € 70.

Score: 87/100