BenRiach 1985 24 YO Cask #5502, 50,1 %
Here is a whisky we tasted completely blind a couple of days ago. Utter darkness perhaps describes this better. We had no clue whatsoever. We were given the sample by good friends who love to challenge us, and we are always ready to be challenged.
Having nosed and tasted this whisky for almost an hour I was really struggling to conclude on a distillery. I had decided on a few facts, however. It was a peated whisky, it was at least 20 years old, and it was cask strength – at least 50 % ABV. I also felt pretty confident this was not an Islay or Island whisky, but still a Scotch. If pressed for a distillery name I would maybe have guessed a peated Tomatin (Cù Bòcan).
The tasting notes below are unedited from what I found on the day we did the tasting. The day after the tasting we got the answer. Turns out this was a peated BenRiach 1985 24 YO Cask #5502 from independent bottler Signatory Vintage. Distilled on 1985-09-30, bottled on 2009-11-10, with a total outturn of 206 bottles from a bourbon barrel.
This all means I was fairly spot on for age, ABV, peat, and more or less region (mainland Scotland), but had no clue on distillery. I felt rather pleased anyways – and the whisky was good! Blind tasting is great fun, and quite challenging.
Nose (22/25): Medium peated. Chocolate, hints of coffee, soft maltiness, and fresh licorice. After a while I also pick up on baked apples and citrus. Warm and rich nose.
Taste (20/25): Rich and full-bodied. Citrus, cocoa, chocolate and ginger. The peat is almost hidden.
Finish (22/25): Chocolate and – surprisingly – chocolate milk. Fascinating! Long and warm.
Balance (21/25): Maybe a little ‘simple’ in structure, but I really liked the chocolate milk finish.
Thank you for the challenge, Susan and Micke!
Image from Master of Malt.