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A couple of weeks ago I had a little gathering at my place (well, maybe not so little). @thecyclingyogi was kind enough to bring this single cask BenRiach. Distilled from peated malt in 1985, it was poured into Cask No. 7190, which previously held Pedro Ximenez sherry. 26 years later, in July 2012, it yielded only 211 bottles. As with all BenRiach Single Cask bottlings, it is non-coloured, non-chill-filtered and cask strength.
The colour is a medium reddish copper. Incredible complexity on the nose, with overripe black cherries, papaya, dark chocolate, dates, rum raisin and light peat in the background. Cardamom. The fruits and chocolate notes dominate the peat but only just, and in the right measure. A small drop of water reveals an herb garden surrounded by a dry grassy field. Beautifully done.
On the palate we have many of the same notes, but more chocolate, leather and dark cherries. Beautifully sherried wood. The peat smoke becomes more dominant as well, but never sacrifices balance with the fruit. A small drop of water adds peppery spice and a wee bit of chili heat. Wonderful.
The finish is smoky with burning leaves, Charleston Chew and fresh herbs. This is a rich yet subtle and enormously complex malt - with only 211 bottles out there (imagine the evaporation! Happy angels indeed...) you will have a lot of trouble finding one...unfortunately. Absolutely stunning. Perhaps my favourite whisky of that evening (and it certainly was my girlfriend's favourite) - thanks again @thecyclingyogi!