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BenRiach has several expressions under the banner ‘Wood Finishes’, including a couple whiskies ACE’d in wine casks. This is sometimes tricky. Quite a few expressions become too winey (or vinous) and are not really appreciated by many whisky enthusiasts. Let’s see if this one suffers that fate.
The BenRiach 18 Year Old Moscatel matured in bourbon casks for 15 years and whas then finished for another 3 years in – obviously – Moscatel wine casks (the famous Spanish and Portuguese aperitif wine from the Muscat grape). It was launched – together with the Gaja Barolo – in 2010. Only 3.600 bottles are available.
It has a very vivid nose with quite some depth. I get vanilla, tinned pears, stewed apples, a pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon. Fruity and appealing.
On the palate is mouth coating and pretty creamy (like cream butter). Silky smooth with a burst of caramel and stewed fruits (apples again), seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. There are some prunes in there as well, I think. Some nuts (almonds?) and honey complete the picture.
The finish is sweet with a lot of honey at first, but quicky becomes oaky and drying. At the death, it’s pretty spicy.
The use of the Moscatel casks gives this dram a sweeter dimension than what you find in the classic expressions of BenRiach. But it certainly didn’t suffer from the wine finish, au contraire. Ideal as an after dinner dram.