Thanks to /u/devoz for this sample.
Hey, look, it’s another BenRiach I’ve never had.
Guess it’s time to write about how I’m a huge fanboy for them and that’s my bias.
Glad that’s out of the way now.
Maybe I should explain more for everyone who isn’t a voice in my head as I write this that can immediately get the inside jokes.
I enjoy BenRiach peated malt. A lot. I’m very concerned that the new person hired will somehow release things I don’t like, because she used to work at Bowmore. But she also brought out Founder’s Reserve from Glen Garioch, so I’m conflicted.
Typically when I try a BenRiach, I state this at the start, because some people get angry if I don’t state every single bias I’ve ever had. I’m only human, after all.
BenRiach 14 1998 Single Cask Virgin American Oak Finish is an unpeated BenRiach that was finished for an undeterminable amount of time in a cask that would make /u/lasidar have a 4 hour erection.
The inside joke there is he likes Virgin butts. The whisky kind. I don’t actually know how he prefers people butts. Maybe big, I can’t lie.
Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Bottle No. 225 of 307
Date of Bottling: Aug/12
Aged: 14 years
Cask No: 2828
Cask Type: Virgin American Oak Hogshead
Colour: 10YR 5/8
Nose: Pineapple, sugar cookie, buttercream, dark chocolate, coconut cream, wood, cashew butter
Wow. Quite impressive. Bit sweet notes, lots of baking notes, and quite complex. Spent a long time on this one. I can’t believe this was ever put on sale.
It smells like a mix between a bourbon and a scotch, which many bourbon fans have told me is an affront to nature that could never survive outside the cask.
Taste: Pineapple, wood, strawberry, anise, almond milk, peanut, yogurt raisins, rich butter
This is like a really good vegan shake that you’re too proud to tell your friend is a good vegan shake but keep drinking because “I have a cold, don’t want it to go to waste.”
There’s lots of creamy, rich notes here, mixed with the right amount of fruit and wood. A lot of virgin oak casks can be “just Scotch, but more wood notes”, and this is not the case here.
Finish: Pineapple rum, Demerara sugar, dry, salty peanuts, honey, grassy, butter
Finish reminds me of fruit rum, then just rum, and then dry, sweet elements. Lots of grassy and butter.
Cornish Ice Cream has a distinct flavour that the cows were happy and ate good grass. This has that element to it, and is not just me bringing up random facts.
Conclusion: The surprising win of the night, I’m blown away at how two things I normally am not the biggest fan of (virgin casks and unpeated BenRiach) mix together so well to be greater than the sum of their parts.
This is the virgin cask for both fans of virgin casks, bourbon fans, and even non-fans of either (myself not included in any of those groups). This acts like a really good non-Jamaican rum, or a light sweet dram if you don’t know what that is.
Scotch review #611, Speyside review #186, Whisky Network review #1016