Now we’re getting into some serious whisky. Benriach’s ultra premium side of their core range includes a 21-, 25-, and 30-year old expression. Today, we’re focusing on the first two. Both expressions are bottled at 46% abv, which is a great proof to showcase the flavors and aromas better and yet still be very easily drinkable without adding water. Let’s jump in…
The Twenty One
This lovely beast sees a four-cask maturation: bourbon, sherry, virgin oak, and Bourdeaux red wine casks. Master Blender Rachel Barrie uses both Benriach’s unpeated and peated whisky to compose this orchestra of flavor. Those red wine casks really mingle well with Benriach’s style. The nose features hints of plum, oak spice, ripe orchard fruit, and smoked honey. The palate is reminiscent of fruit being grilled over a wood fire. Honey adds a little sweetness and richness, and a nice tobacco note leads into a long, hearty finish.
The combination of cask types, especially the addition of Bourdeaux red wine casks, really amp up the distillery’s signature fruity profile. This is a must-buy whisky at $199.99. Benriach has managed to craft an elegant, fruit-forward peated whisky that remains superbly balance and immensely delicious.
The Twenty Five
Benriach “The Twenty Five” (and kudos for the direct, easy-to-remember names here) also utilizes a four cask maturation with sherry casks, bourbon barrels, virgin oak casks, and Madeira Island wine casks. The flavor profile here deepens a bit when compared to the 21-year-old expression. The nose features hints of nutty toffee, cocoa, baked orchard fruit, and some oak spice. Taste-wise, a wave of smoky caramel combines with baked apricot, baking spice, and toasted oak to produce a whisky I can best describe as f*cking delicious. A slight earthiness (tobacco leaf) shows up in the mid-palate to add even more to the cacophony of flavors. The finish is soft, but lingers for a while.
I’d call this a richer, darker, and nuttier version of Benriach. It drinks lower than its 46% abv proof, and each sip tempts you to keep the bottle nearby. It’s a really, really great whisky. Price-wise, at $349.99 it’s quite a jump compared to the 21-year-old’s bargain price. That said, tell me where else you’ll find a 25-year-old single malt for $350?