Bias admission up front - I have quite the soft spot for Benriach. Or at least I did. Not sure how I feel about the Brown Forman takeover of the company - latest prices we've seen on new releases of Benriach seem fairly high and a bit of a turnoff compared to the products of yesteryear. Maybe I'm not fair, maybe times have changed and prices have done so accordingly, maybe I am guilty of constantly living in the good ol days... Maybe it's Maybelline.
Whatever. Whilst I may be in a lamenting mood, the best way to kick it is to reach for something that's been sitting in my jealously guarded stockpile for what I now deem to be the rainy days that have come upon us.
Benriach Madenrensis Fumosus 13 yo Heavily Peated. This 13 y.o Benriach has spent some time in American Oak before getting a finishing in Madeira. As I sit back and sip this one, I fondly gaze at the receipt which tells me I originally paid $45 for this one, and I reflect on the scene in the office in which Andy says: "I wish there was a way to know you're actually in the good ol days before you've left them" sniff
Nose: Smoky yet sweet - not islay smoke like at all - imagine if you lit some hard fruit candy on fire. Hmm.... looks around the room for candy and a lighter. It's a sweet smoke - It has what I've come to associate as the classic Benriach sweetness on the nose, but with smoke all over it. Touch of pineapple, some sweet red dessert wine (might be the madeira? never had the wine itself but I'm guessing that's it). Harmoniously tied together and quite appealing.
Palate: Campfire smoke - has some ashy peat and brine up front. Then the fruits make an appearance - some green apple, light citrus notes, some black pepper kicks in afterwards. It has a pretty nice viscous mouthfeel. Altogether decent, but was kind of hoping for more given how much I liked the nose.
Finish: Tobacco and coffee, hints of dark chocolate, Lasts for a decently satisfying amount of time
This is a great example of how Speyside peated whisky can and should be done. It's bottled at a good abv. It was reasonably well put together and sold at a price that didn't leave me Fumosus (sorry, I'll show myself out). It's tasty and warming, and gives you that warm home comfort feel. Glad I saved bottles like these for drinking since I don't see myself springing for the new stuff at the same age and 3-4x the price.
Nice review, I am a big fan of Benriach from this era as well, I think beyond the Brown Foreman acquisition we have to factor in that the spirit distilled under Billy Walker is just now coming into it's teens, it's probably going to be somewhat different than the stocks acquired under the previous regime.
This series of young peated whisky was really interesting, I went for supper at a local bar Christmas 2016 and had a dram of "Biggus Dickus" err I mean Heredotus Fumosus" it was finished in PX casks, it had a great interplay between sweet sherry and that nice dry peat, no medicinal or coastal elements which was really interesting. I liked it so much I returned the following week for another dram along with the rhum cask one "Arhumaticus Fumosus".
@Robert99 told me these used to retail for about 70$ at SAQ, how times have changed indeed. There was something to all these peated Benriach expressions that really made them stand out.
This is a very good example of how a review should be done. It’s entertaining, not too esoteric when describing nose and palate, and nicely wrapped up with the reviewers overall impressions. Very helpful, thank you.