I always start a Ben Riach review by mentioning a horrendous 20 year old I had some years ago which put me off the distillery for a really long time. But this time around I won't.
Even though it was really bad.
OK, enough about that.
I made up for my Ben Riach hiatus by binge buying as many expressions as I could get my hands on. I like that they're easy to get hold of and within an acceptable price range. More importantly there is a maturation twist with most expressions, which I like. Plus they have these goofy names like , which is Latin for .
Good variety of flavors, easy on the wallet and a chance to practise a dead language?. That's a win win, if you ask me.
I've had this one sitting on my shelf for a while for no reason other than I just didn't get around to giving it a go. But a couple of days ago I felt it was time. And I'm glad.
This 15 year has been matured in traditional bourbon barrels before being finished off in casks from the bodegas of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia, Southern Spain, previously used to mature Pedro Ximenez sherry. My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 46%
Dark chocolate. Barley. Red apples. Green tea. Oak. It's a little salty. Wild red berries. Sweet rich sherry. Licorice. Maraschino cherries. Christmas cake. If you ask me I prefer PX Sherry over Oloroso maturations. I think it's sweeter, a little more complex. This is a great nose. Hardly any flaws. 23/25
Medium body. Oak. Black peppers. Dark dates. Chocolate. Cinnamon. It's quite dry. Not as sweet as the nose. Quite savory. Under-ripe banana. Coconut. This is quite enjoyable.
Quite long. Dry. Touch of oak. Cinnamon. 22/25
This is a very enjoyable whisky from a solid distillery. If you let it breathe, as you should all whiskies, it gets even more sweeter over time. Good stuff!