BenRiach and I did not have a very good first meeting. A Duty Free salesman decided to off-load a 20 year onto me back when I did not know my peat from my feet.
And let me tell you that was a vile drink. The oak had inflicted so much damage it was literally undrinkable. But this is not a BenRiach bash. Quite the opposite actually.
After a brief hiatus from this Speysider I decided to return and since then have had many a pleasant experience. The latest in this growing list of tastings is this 25 year old named Authenticus.
There's literally no literature on the type of casks used to mature this spirit but I'm pretty sure it's second-fill bourbon. Could be a vatting of sorts as well between first and re-fill. But I'm guessing at this point.
Regardless this is a very fine spirit which BenRiach claim to have peated 'heavily'. After tasting so many Octomores and Port Charlottes heavy to me means something entirely different.
However, the peat is visibly there on the nose and palate so I'm going to guess between 18 - 25 ppm.
My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at a chewy 46%
Nose: Peat. Fishnets. Citrus. Chocolate. Pink melon. Licorice. Hint of oak Wisp of smoke. Hardboiled sweets. Some type of flower. Could be lavender. Water chestnuts. The peat is sweet, fruity and mildly floral. I really like this nose. Reminds me of old school Ardbegs. Maybe not as heavily peated or as salty but walks a lovely line between sweet and peat. 23/25
Palate: Mild melons. Hardboiled sweets. Oak. Chocolate. Mint. Cinnamon. A hint of all spice. Nice controlled delivery and the texture is on point. No lethargy after spending 25 years cooped up in a barrel. Could easily pass off 10 years younger. In a good way. 23/25
Finish: Develops as you wait. Lots of big peaty smoke. 23/25
Strength: This is me being greedy but I could have done with a four more percentage points. 22/25
Variety: A good variety of flavors across the spectrum. 23/25
Quality: Top stuff. Sophisticated oak. Sophisticated spirit. 24/25
Harmony: A lovely marriage of flavors with each one on point and working well with the others. 24/25
Based on all the points scored I rate this whisky : 92.5