The Benriach 29yo 1976/2006 (56%, OB, Batch 3, Hogshead #8084, 194 bottles)

And yes another Benriach and another one from Batch 3. After the 1968 Hoggie that scored 89 points and the 1984 peated Butt that scored 88 Points, let’s see if this 1976 peated Hoggie can finally break the barrier and score (well) into the 90’s.

Color: Full Gold

Nose: Fruity and half waxy (it’s not Caperdonich 1972). The fruits would be Apricots, some peach again and strawberry jam. Creamy and spicy oak, malt and sawdust. A rather calm powdery nose. You know those hard candies made of compressed powder? Cold wet tea leaves. Distant sweets and very fruity. Again the yellow fruits. Apricots and peach minus the perfumy side of peach. There could be peat in this, but left in very minute amounts. After some time, smoke and banana. Peat?

Taste: Thick, spicy and waxy. Distant smoke and hints of black fruits. Sweet, nice balance. Work for it and you’ll be rewarded. Again a great sweet fruity malt. Peat maybe, but not as we know it. It’s not from Islay and this is not heavily peated. Just the right amount of wood (the 1968 had more wood).

Of the three I tried from this third batch, I like this best. Some would say the 1968, but for me this has more of everything. Rounder and better balance. OK, maybe simpler, but much bolder. This time the seventies over the sixties. It all just fits snugly, and the peat is so great in this!

Points: 91

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The Benriach 21yo 1984/2006 (55%, OB, Batch 3, Oloroso Butt #1438, 658 bottles)

Earlier I tried a 1968 Hogshead from the next door neighbour of Longmorn. Here is another Benriach from Batch 3. The hoggie scored 89 points, so let’s see if this peated and sherried Benriach can match that score. This one being a lot younger and probably completely different. That’s a plus for Benriach anyway. They always tried out a lot, so there is a lot of variation going on…

Color: Orange Gold.

Nose: Smoke and licorice. Nice wood in the fireplace. Clean sea air and peat. Also a slight hint of soap. Black and white powder. Musty Sherry and salty tar. Deep down syrupy apricots and even deeper down a floral note. Given some time, the very dominant heavy wood fire notes luckily die down a little to show more of what’s underneath.

Taste: Sweet and prickly cannabis. Don’t do drugs, do a Benriach! Peat and spicy wood. Musty moss. Red fruits, fresh and candied. Toffee and nougat. Very big body that’s chewy with a little bit of hidden (soapy) banana in here. Finishes a bit like a Kriek Lambic, slightly bitter.

Quite nice big bodied malt. The peat and smoke are great here and there is just enough sweetness here to balance that out. If the fruityness would be able to show its face some more this would have been excellent. Still very good nonetheless. And yes, another great Benriach in batch 3.

Points: 88

The Benriach 37yo 1968/2006 (52%, OB, Batch 3, Hogshead #2712, 157 bottles)

Benriach, also known as The BenRiach. Founded in 1897, sold to Longmorn Distilleries Co. two years later and mothballed from 1903 to 1965. Wow, that’s a long time! Interesting about Benriach is that a lot of experiments were done there during the seventies (and eighties). Tests with peat, new oak etc. Lot’s of those experiments are released today.

Benriach issue several different vintages in batches. The first batch was released in 2004, the year Billy Walker bought the distillery along with Intra Trading. (These guys also bought Glendronach in 2008). Not a lot of experimenting with the bottle to be reviewed now. A bottle from the third batch released in 2006. Just a nice little hogshead filled in 1968 yielding only 157 bottles, quite the angels share, but still 52% ABV.

Color: Full gold, almost orange.

Nose: Waxy, elegant and promising body. Fruity, apple sauce, peaches and dried apricots. Dare I say waxy? Some dry powder and paper. Hint of banana. Creamy light vanilla. Crème brûlée and custard. Also some almonds and a slight hint of licorice are thrown in for good measure. Very balanced. Also it has a promising sweetness you would expect from a Bourbon. Very likeable nose, can’t go wrong with this. If you like fruity, you’ll love this!

Taste: Very elegant wood and a great creamy sweetness. Chewy mild banana and peach yoghurt and a hint of red or black fruit (candylike). A pinch of smoke in the back, and obviously some wood, but that’s ok, it hardly gives off some bitterness. A bit short and light finish with a slight inbalance.

Enjoyable, recommendable and very fruity. It could have gained triple A status if it would have some added bits that would counterpart the fruit. It is good/great, but lacks some complexity you would have expected of such an old malt.

Points: 89