BenRiach Authenticus 21 yo is a peated and non-chill-filtered malt. My thanks to @Nock for the reviewed sample
Nose: elegant mostly sweet peat greets the nose first, then integrates very nicely with a lovely barley which shows the refinement of advanced aging. Is there wine cask influence here? Could well be some, but if so it is light and supportive. Noticeable vanilla. This is a very pleasant, mellow, and elegant experience. Water added sweetens the experience, lessens the peat, and brings out vanilla. Score 22.5/25 points
Taste: quite a nice very vivid translation of the nose flavours to the palate, with the addition of strong citrus in the mouth. Water added homogenises and sweetens the flavours, and lessens the peat influence. Score: 22/25
Finish: with or without water, goes straight down the road without a lot of change from the palate through to the finish. Neat without water the finish is long, with the peat, especially, keeping the attention until the death. Score: 21.5/25
Balance: excellent in the nose, very good on the palate, good on the finish. Score: 22/25
Total Sequential Score: 88 points
Strength: strong flavours thoughout. Score: 22/25 points
Quality: good to excellent flavours of each of the components. Score: 22/25
Variety: good to very good variety of flavours available. Score: 21.5/25
Harmony: very good harmony of the parts. Score: 22.5/25
Total Non-Sequential Score: 88 points
Comment: BenRiach Authenticus 21 yo is an elegant older malt. I like it a lot. I read that it is not common to find anymore, but if you can find it, the price is likely to be reasonable, compared to other 21 yo malt whiskies
@Robert99, I have had both the Septendecim, the Curiositas, and the Authenticus. And let me tell you to try before you buy. I adore the Curiositas and I really enjoy the Septendecim. I tasted the Authenticus side by side with the Septendecim, the Curiositas, and the 17yo Solstice (2nd Edition). I found the Septendecim to be exactly as you said (woody peat, barley, delicate smoke - very clean and balanced).
However, the Authenticus might be my lowest scoring whisky ever at 67. I thought it was so bad that I took some to @Victor to help confirm if he thought it was a tainted bottle. Apparently, what I find off and offensive doesn't seem to bother him at all!
To me the nose is all rotten tropical fruits (mango, papaya, guava and pineapple) mixed with peat. All I could get was burnt fruit and rotting vegetation in wave after wave of pungent sour sweet malt. The peat in this 21yo is actually stronger than in the 17yo Septendecim to my nose. Further, the Authenticus is much "thicker" with fruit, malt, peat, and wood, were as the Septendecim was far more clean, simple, and light.
While I do share a great deal of commonality with @Victor's taste preferences, there are a few examples of outliers. The Authenticus is one clear example. I am not sure if I should put up my notes on the Authenticus or not. My experience from the exact same bottle that @Victor tasted is so extremely different. I could very well be in a very small minority who has “tropical fruit issues.” I my last trip up to visit we did find out that I am “sulfur blind.” Thankfully, sulfur will never bother me in a whisky! Maybe my sulfur blindness has heightened my other senses? Ha!
@Nock Thank you for your comment, it is a nice reminder that our tastebuds are all different. For example, the Curiositas has nothing special for me and for about the same price I would prefer the rum finish while I would go on a special trip to get a bottle of the Herodotus Fumosus. Coming back to Authenticus, I had a similar bad experience with a bottle of Springbank 10. I had rotten weeds when nobody seems to notice anything wrong with it. It was terrible. The good thing is that I have now other bottles from Springbank that I enjoy very much. I hope one day you'll get a taste of an Authenticus without that rotten taste as I find to be uncommon for Benriach to have bad bottles.