BenRiach Albariza 18 YO
BenRiach Albariza 18 YO, 46 %
BenRiach recently released the BenRiach Albariza 18 YO, a limited edition of 3886 bottles. This is a peated whisky, initially matured in American oak casks, and then given a finish in Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks.
The name, Albariza, has a clear connection with the contents of the bottle. Albariza is the name for a type of white soil with a high chalk content, which is known to be very good for growing grapes for Sherry production.
You can buy the BenRiach Albariza in Norway at NOK 1200 (item number 2391701), and in Sweden at SEK 1349 (item number 4042501). It was actually released in Sweden yesterday (68 bottles) and seems to be sold out now. Bottles still available in Norway, though.
Nose (22/25): Fruity! I would say the PX makes a bigger impression up front than the peat. Dried fruits and spices with a soft Christmas-y feel, mixed with sweet and tempered peat smoke of the woodsy kind. After a time I also pick up chocolate, light honey, unsalted peanuts, ibérico ham (Jamón ibérico) and red berries. (You can picture me walking around in my apartment, picking all this up from the floor, off of tables and shelves etc. Right?)
Taste (21/25): Again very fruity. It is certainly peaty, but the sherry influence has the upper hand. Dried fruits, with a distinct PX sweetness - the dark and mysterious kind. Pepper, chili, dry wood smoke (yes, yes, how do I know...), and almond oil.
Finish (21/25): Continues much as it started, the only real difference being that the sweetness now has a a slightly burnt edge to it. Or maybe that is the smokiness becoming more defined? (Who can tell, really - it's not like there is a manual for this stuff.) Medium long, and more burning (in a good way!) than warming.
Balance (22/25): I think there is a very nice balance between the peat and the sherry here. The sherry is more eager to show its colors, but the peat is always present and finally takes center stage on the finish. A fine dram.
Sláinte! - Thomas