BenRiach 18 Years Old Albariza

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £71.95 for 70cl from Master of Malt

Score: 92/100

BenRiach18YOAlbariza

What they say:

The BenRiach 18 Years Old Albariza is part of the new heavily peated range. Originally matured in American oak casks,the whisky is then finished in Pedro Xinenez sherry casks.

The name ‘Albariza’ is derived from the typical white soil used for growing grapes in the production of sherry in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain.

Bottled at 46%, at natural colour and non chill filtered, ‘Albariza’ is available on a strictly limited basis.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: Sweet dates and ripe figs engulfed in a unique heather honeyed peat smoke, softening to hints of ripped herbs and sweet barley.

Colour: Rich burnt amber.

Taste: A sweet, sherried character holds lashings of vanilla, chocolate and rum-soaked raisins; all drenched with waves of intense campfire peat reek and a subtle white pepper and stem ginger warmth.

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What I say:

Many thanks to Jon from Scotch and Sci-fi blog for organising shares of this

Colour:

Dark bright copper with ruby and gold hints (16/20), thick medium-fast tears resolving to light trails

Nose:

An enticing mix of sherried tannic leather and rich fruits; fig, date and raisin with a thick syrupy and heather honey sweetness followed by a dusty, earthy peat smoke, a deeper nosing reveals strawberries coated in sugar and red and black cherries; brighter fruity notes as well as a chocolate coated coffee beans

Taste:

Cinnamon spiced and peat roasted cocoa and coffee beans, earthen then tannic leather, more milk chocolate though still spiced with nutmeg, deep fruit medley of raisin, fig, date, cherry, elderberry and cranberry (tart and earthy), an interesting mix of peat and cocoa, some hints of white chocolate, creamier vanilla and coconut milk

Finish:

Long, tannic fruits and oaky toffee are followed by a prolonged mouth-coating dusty peat smoked cocoa powder

Overall:

Delicious, reasonably sherried and peated but balanced beautifully, this is along similar lines to the Ardbeg Uigeadail but where that expression was feisty, youthful and punchy this one sits itself back in a big leather armchair and smiles at you with the reassurance of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. There is a depth here to everything, the sherry, the peat, the spices, even the fruitiness and yet fresh and light flavours are still swirling around in this mix just waiting to reveal themselves for a moment before you lose them again in the milieu. A definite thinkers dram -one to sip whilst reading a gripping book.