I dove into my sample drawer and came up holding a sample of BenRiach 1997 23 Years from the Whisky Agency, bottled a few years ago as part of their Winter 2020 series (but actually released in early 2021). Should you wonder if it’s still available, I can tell you that it is. But it’s not cheap.
BenRiach has never quite been able to hit the right chord for me. Or maybe I should say that I’ve had some amazing BenRiach, yet have never felt any sort of connection to the brand. In my experience that’s paramount to optimum enjoyment. However, when reviewing and writing tasting notes I always try to separate emotion from the process. Let’s see how I fare today…
BenRiach 1997 23 Years (50.7%, The Whisky Agency, 427 bts.)
Nose: Pretty sweet with notes of apricots, dates and whiffs of orange marmelade. Slightly herbacious at times, with a hint of oats, but sweeter notes prevail. Honey, papaya and damp oak. Very sophisticated. Taste: Hints of coffee grounds, orange pith and tinned pineapples, but also nougat, toffee and ginger. Finally some nutmeg, sage, allspice, and just a tinge of fennel. Finish: Lingering notes of aniseed, burnt toast and sweet citrus. Medium in length.
A very satisfying BenRiach from a good cask that has been pretty active, but never crosses the line. Fruity and oaky notes intertwine, while the sherry influence is sophisticated and gentle. Good stuff!