Google A Brace Of Benriach

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 11, 2019





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
A Brace Of Benriach
Theoretically this should be a pretty straightforward, fruit-accented wee session...


Benriach 28 yo 1990/2018 (48.2%, Elixir Distillers ‘Single Malts Of Scotland’, cask #141, bourbon barrel, 107 bottles)

Benriach 28 yo 1990/2018 (48.2%, Elixir Distillers ‘Single Malts Of Scotland’, cask #141, bourbon barrel, 107 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: golden syrup, caramelised oatmeal, garden fruits and apple crumble topped with custard. Some cider apples, gooseberry tart, lemon barley water and a little shortbread sweetness. No one could be against such easy, open and fruity malt whisky. Mouth: a tad straighter and dryer upon delivery. Lots of cereals, breads, sweet pastries such a custard heavy mille-feuille and an almond croissant. Also some bitter orange pith notes, a few yellow flowers, mixed herbs and hint of lemon cough drops. Finish: Medium and rather focused on sweet barley sugar, herbal tea, dandelions and a drop of rapeseed oil. Comments: humble and eminently quaffable mature Speyside malt whisky. Simply but not boring.
SGP: 641 - 87 points.



Benriach 30 yo (50%, OB, +/- 2013)

Benriach 30 yo (50%, OB, +/- 2013)
Colour: amber/rosewood. Nose: rather a lot of rancio, bitter herbal extracts, roof pitch, dark chocolate and (my beloved) Maggi liquid seasoning. These extractive herbal notes grow rather quickly and it becomes almost like an old Fernet Branca or Jägermeister (ever had a ‘Benriach-Bomb’ while out clubbing Serge?) there’s also aniseed, liquorice and ginger cake - perhaps a slosh of expensive Root Beer as well. Pretty impressive so far I have to say. With water: earthier, more gamey, mushroomy and with this sort of herbal/umami fusion. There’s also a refreshing glimmer of cereals. Mouth: big, herbal, meaty, lightly sooty, some sweet mint and eucalyptus oils and things like Marmite and Bovril. Also brown breads, root ginger, tiger balm and old slightly salty Oloroso. Some dry Madeira, hessian and old earthen floored wine cellars. There’s some impressive old school sherry qualities to this one. With water: seeds, breads, spices, dried mint, herbal resins, cough medicine, hints of precious hardwoods and chai tea. Finish: good length. Earthy, gingery, spicy, more bitter herbal teas, ointments, pot pourri and lime leaf. Comments: We’re some way, stylistically speaking, from those pornographic 1976s. But this is very, very good. It’s quite a bit better than I remember other batches of the 30yo being. Now, I haven’t tried any for a good few years so it may well be time that’s doing that to me. Anyway, I think this is an excellent old sherried Benriach.
SGP: 561 - 90 points.



Croatia Holiday Bonus!



We’re on holiday in Croatia this month so it would be remiss of me not to try and include some local distillate / malternative where possible. Let’s see how we go...



Popic Family Grappa (40%, OB, 2018)
A Grappa made at the small, family run Popic winery on the Island of Korcula where they grow the indigenous Grk variety for their whites and Plavac Mali for the reds. This Grappa is usually further infused with herbs, but at the time of our visit they only had some unlabelled bottles of their ‘pure’ un-infused Grappa. Hence the image of their wine labels by way of illustration. This is distilled from the must of the Grk grapes so it’s equally indigenous to this island as the white wines themselves. Colour: clear. Nose: I often find a rather elegant, bitter almond note in Grappa and I find that here. Beyond that there’s lemongrass, some various other citrus peels, wild mint and that almond aspect morphs into some nice marzipan touches. Some other dried herbs, limoncello and peach stones. Nicely aromatic, easy Grappa. Rather grassy and natural in style. Mouth: much bigger at 40% than most whiskies - although that is no doubt due to lack of oak ageing. This is very mentholated, herbal and elegantly bitter. Some herbal extracts, arrowroot, mint, eucalyptus, thyme and even a slightly salty, black olive edge. Hints of caraway, salty mint, preserved lemon and some pine resin. Really quite good! Finish: good length! Mint tea infused with lemon peel, lime leaf, pink pepper and more of these bitter herbal extracts.


Comments: I’m no expert on Grappa, so please take whatever I say with a Herculean fistful of Mediterranean sea salt. Having said that, I’ve tried some pretty stunning Grappas in recent times that have made me re-evaluate my feelings about this drink, and this one, while simple and straightforward, is clean, fresh, aromatic and not at all lazy or grubby. I found plenty to enjoy here. Very solid work by the good folk of Popic in my wee opinion.
SGP: 450 - 82 (relatively meaningless) points.











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