BenRiach started doing peated runs in the 1970s – some of the legendary 1976 single casks were peated. As far as I know it wasn’t until 2007 that they were released, all with Latin-sounding names. Remember BenRiach Arumaticus Fumosus, Maderensis Fumosus, Heredotus Fumosus or Curiositas?
Maybe because of their long experience, I’ve always found BenRiach’s peated malts among the best from non-Islay distilleries. Nowadays BenRiach uses the same ppm as Laphroaig, around 45 ppm (using the colorimetric scale).
The top of the range has always been the 21 Year Old Authenticus, until it was upgraded to this BenRiach 25 Years Authenticus in 2012. I’ve heard this expression currently contains much older stocks from the mid-1980s which caused rumours that it could be overtaken by a peated 30 Year Old soon. Perhaps the upcoming BenRiach Temporis 21 Years (matured in four oak types) is also an indication of a reworked peated upper range? Update: Temporis would replace the 17yo Septemdecim.
BenRiach 25 yo Authenticus
(46%, OB +/- 2017)
Nose: a complex blend of (slightly exotic) fruity notes with very velvety peat. Roasted pineapple and peaches, jelly beans, leather and mossy forest grounds. Some waxy notes and dried herbs. Cinnamon and warm pepper. Subtle hints of shoe polish. Very classy.
Mouth: starts on spices (pepper, cinnamon, aniseed), with a lightly bitter, herbal edge (chicory maybe). Rosemary. Then the typical BenRiach fruitiness comes out, including a hint of guava and passion fruit. Sawdust. Liquorice and mint. Quite some ashy / smoky notes too, more than on the nose. Something camphory too.
Finish: long, smoky, with gentian and other bitter notes.
This Authenticus has a unique character, with lots of different flavours coming together. The firm herbal bitterness keeps me from going higher, but the fruitiness and ashy mainland peat make it very interesting. Between € 200-250 depending on the market. It’s part of the MoM Summer Sale, would that be an end-of-life sign as well?