Whisky Review: BenRiach Authenticus 30 Years Old
Category: Speyside single malt Scotch whisky
Origin: BenRiach Distillery
Bottling: Brown-Forman, Official
Cost: £400.00 buy from Master of Malt
What they say:
The BenRiach Distillery is delighted to announce the release of BenRiach Authenticus 30 years old, a rare opportunity to experience a peated Speyside single malt dating back to the 1980s. Crafted from densely peated malted barley, BenRiach Authenticus 30 years old is a rich, intense Speyside single malt Scotch whisky.
Back in the 1970s, BenRiach began distilling a proportion of its whisky using peated malted barley, marking a return to the original Speyside character and flavour of malts made during the nineteenth century. Today the distillery holds a rare inventory of peated Speyside single malt, dating as far back as 1975. Research by leading whisky expert Charles MacLean indicates BenRiach was the first Speyside distillery to release a peated expression since WW2. This came in the form of BenRiach Curiositas 10 years old in 2004, which remains part of the core BenRiach peated range today. Since then, the distillery has experimented with peated wood finishes and the first BenRiach Peated Cask Strength release, an opportunity to experience a peated Speyside single malt in its most natural state.
BenRiach peated single malt whiskies are distilled from peat cut in the North-East of Scotland, containing a prevalence of wood derived from ancient trees, heather and bracken. The burning of this peat releases sweet smoke and aromatic spices through the malt and into the whisky, reminiscent of a campfire in a Speyside forest.
At the BenRiach Distillery we pride ourselves on our unconventional distilling philosophy, creating unpeated, peated and triple distilled malt whisky. As the oldest expression in our peated range, we believe Authenticus 30 years old will impress with its distinguished profile. It is a more intense Speyside malt which carries a delightful balance of wild honey and peat on the nose. The combination of the soft, creamy vanilla, summer fruits and slight hint of cocoa coax the palate, while the infused sweet peat builds gradually to complete the unique character
BenRiach Distillery Master Blender Rachel Barrie
What I say:
Distilled at least as long ago as 1987 or earlier, this Peated BenRiach has matured for over 30 years! I haven’t had the chance to sample the previous 21 and 25 year old expressions but I’m familiar with the Curiositas 10 Year old and have sampled other Peated BenRiach expressions. According to BenRiach Global Brand Ambassador Stewart Buchanan the Latin naming adopted for the peated malt expressions produced at BenRiach stems from archeological findings of a nearby Roman Hill Fort linked also to a great battle ‘Mons Graupius’ centred around Quarrelwood Hill. Several hoards of Roman coins have also been discovered at Birnie (i.e of BenRiach’s Birnie Moss) further substantiating this claim.
Dark copper bronze (14/20), slow forming medium fine droplets with fine legs
Initially sweet with a burst of honey and rich vanilla essence then orange peel, tannic leather, vanilla custard, fruity peach cobbler, musty dunnage warehouse, dusty old oak, milk chocolate, peaty malt drying in the kiln.
Thick and full bodied on the palate, fruit and chocolate with a distinct mass of prickly peat, cinnamon, tea, leather and oak wood tannins, cigar smoke and tobacco leaf, cigar boxes and plums or plum sauce, massive depth
Long, after eight mints , cigar smoke and heather brush fire
Post prandial in a very conventional way, full-bodied and filling with heathery peat influence and finishes like a wafer thin mint followed by a cigar in a deep leather armchair, had me thinking of Mr Creosote from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (just one more wafer thin mint sir…). Having sampled this expression with Stewart at the BenRiach distillery it was difficult not to draw parallels with the experience of kilning and peating of malted barley, throughout this expression the aroma’s and flavours recalled the basic raw ingredients in their purest forms, malt, peat and oak.
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