Once upon a time, about 10 to 15 years ago, BenRiach 1976 were about as rare as rats in the New York subway. I’m exaggerating of course, but they popped up regularly at pretty decent prices — especially in retrospect. BenRiach from that vintage quickly gained a reputation for its über fruity flavour profile.
These days not even the distillery seems to have many (if any) casks from that era left. The last official bottling of BenRiach 1976 is from 2016. And the sample of the BenRiach that I review today? I probably bought it 6 or 7 years ago.
BenRiach 1976 30 Years (52%, OB for The Nectar, C#8080)
Nose: Soft peat smoke and some kiwi, grapefruit and passion fruits as well, underpinned by some interesting floral notes. We’ve got some ripe apples and pineapple too, as well as damp oak and a touch of honey. Even a whiff of grass and moist heather. Straight up excellent. Taste: Brilliantly fruity in much the same vein as some of those Irish single malts. Lemon, mango, passion fruit, pink grapefruit and lychees. Similar to the nose, but on steroids and with less peat smoke (which was subtle to begin with). Touches of oak spices too. Finish: More of the same with a hint of white chocolate to finish things off. Medium in length.
Another testament to the brilliant fruitiness of these BenRiach from 1976. What. A. Great. Whisky. This makes me incredibly happy and somewhat melancholy at the same time.