Nov 9, 2011

solo tasting: Benriach 17yo Burgundy wood finish...

Benriach 17yo Burgundy Wood Finish (46.0%): This bottle is one of the three limited wood finishes of Benriach released in Europe in 2010 with Rioja and Claret. The spirit is aged 15 years in ex-bourbon American oak barrels and then transferred to barrels from Burgundy most probably holding Pinot Noir before as we can guess from it's color and palate for an additional two years. Color: Dark amber color with a distinctive red glitter. Nose: A weird but enjoyable start. Mixture of sweet and sour aromas side by side. Two dimensional: Redcurrant, spoiled blackberries on one side black tea and molasses aromas on the other side. A few drops of water pulls the sour side from background to the front. Palate: Now I am sure that this whisky has dissociative identity disorder..! I am sipping two totally different drams at the same time. They don't blend at all and ride next to each other all the time. When it first hits the tongue you get all the sweet notes. Marzipan, strawberry cream filling, tutti frutti, gummi bears and toffee. Then it takes a sudden turn. It dries out the mouth completely. Maybe the name suggested it but from now on I feel like sipping a nicely aged Marc de Bourgogne. Sour grape juice, molasses, grape pits, over-brewed unsweetened black tea and fresh quince. Damp old wood, bitter chocolate and cured herring towards the end. Finish: Woody, short and dry. Overall: It is incredible to see how Burgundy casks added a darker personality in Benriach's delicate Speyside spirit. Kind of a borderline maturation which could end up pretty bad on the dry and sour side. It almost tasted like matured in Russian blend black tea casks to me... Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable ride. Like a roller coaster. You struggle a lot but as soon as it is over you want to do it again.