Whiskyship 2006 and other swiss events.

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Whiskyship 2006


This seminar was organized by Best Taste Trading and was presented by Billy Walker, the Master Blender of BenRiach. The style and the presentation contrasted with the previous one. Well structured, detailed, informative and very professional. As you would expect from a chemist.

I enjoyed the presentation as much as the samples of BenRiach.

Billy Walker, the Master Blender of BenRiach

BenRiach was bought in April 2004 by 3 entrepreneurs and production restarted in September 2004. One particularity of BenRiach is that, like Glenmorangie or Highland Park, the water used for the production of the Whisky is hard water. BenRiach is mainly producing double-distilled lightly peated whisky, but since the early 70’, BenRiach has started to produce heavily peated whisky (the current peated barley is at 55 ppm and 30 ppm in the spirit) and in 1998, triple distilled whisky was eventually produced. Very good news was announced this particular evening: the floor maltings will be recommissioned for the end of 2008 beginning 2009.

Some weeks ago, BenRiach launched two new products, the BenRiach Over 25 Years and the Over 30 Years. Just on time for the whiskyship, the new range Over 15 Years was bottled. The Over 15 Years is composed of wood finishes: Pedro Ximinez, Aged Tawny Port (Chruchill), Jamaican Dark Rum and the Enriques Madeira.

During his presentation, Billy presented the future launches, which will include a BenRiach Over 40 Years, the Triple Distilled expression and the Over 15 Years will be expanded with the Moscatel, Sauterne, Claret, Burgundy, and Barolo finished. In addition, the Richly Peated Fine Wood Finish Over 12 Years will be launched with the Port, Rum and Pedro Ximenez wood finishes. As you can read, BenRiach will be quite busy with all these new products!

After this interesting presentation, the following whiskies were served:

The whiskies tasted during that evening.

BenRiach 12 YO, OB, 43%: The nose is light, floral and fruity, slightly winey, with vanilla, oaky and sherry dryness giving a spicy note to the whisky.

BenRiach 16 YO, OB, 43%:  A sweet and floral whisky, with honey, quite smoky and a touch of peat. The sherry gives a certain dryness and the whisky Is well balanced.

BenRiach 20 YO, OB, 43%:  Quite different from the younger versions. The nose is lighter, more complex and more floral. The body is heavier, more complex, spicy, lots of honey, a bit grassy and then the smoke comes progressively. Long development.

BenRiach 15 YO Perdo Ximinez, OB, 46%: The nose is very smooth and sweet, light and round. The sherry finish is quite strong. On the palate, it starts on a dry sherry feeling before moving to a creamy feeling, on chocolate and sweet fruits, which have merged with in harmony with the sherry. With a touch of bitterness. This whisky has matured well in first-fill bourbon cask.

BenRiach 15 YO Dark Rum, OB, 46%: The colour is lighter than the previous whisky. The nose is floral and fruity and lighter than the PX, the Rum influence is quite pleasant, with its sweet sugary notes. On the palate, it is quite dry, on exotic fruits, lots of Rum influence, rich, but quite light. Light toffee, cinnamon. The finish is sweet and sugary with a grassy-toffee finish. The Rum gave a lot of influence during the finish.

BenRiach 1976, OB, 56%, cask 8084: The nose is creamy, fruity (peach, apricots and pineapples) and soft enveloping peated smoke. Nice old rounded peat, on pineapples, peach and mango, tobacco smoke. Long finish and lots of development. A complex and heavily peated whisky. Very nice!

BenRiach 1986, OB, 55%, cask 9632 Fino: The fino does give a light fragrant flavour to the nose, enhancing the smoke and peat reek flavours. Dry peat smoke, oil, old damp coir/hemp rope. A very heavily peated whisky, clean and very pleasant. Different from the 1976, but as good.

BenRiach Curiositas 10 YO, OB, 40%: As nice as described in previous tasting notes. Hopefully, a cask strength version will be once released?

At the stand of Best Trade Tasting, before the seminar,  I tried the BenRiach Authenticus 21 YO, OB, 46: Very peated whisky, on dry peat smoke, old damp coir/hemp rope. Complex and long development. Long peaty finish. If not for some grassy notes, it would be easily taken for one the best Islay whisky

Unfortunately, I have not been able to taste the 25 and 30 YO BenRiachs.

P.Brossard ©13 Dec 2006