BenRiach launches a trio of new cask finishes

The BenRiach Distillery Company has today announced the launch of three new expressions, which illustrate Master Distiller Billy Walker’s unique ability to marry whisky with wood to create complex, sublime drams.

BenRiach Releases

The new trio of releases consists of; BenRiach 15 Year Old Sauternes Finish and BenRiach 18 Year Old Albariza, which is a peated whisky finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. From its sister distillery GlenDronach, there’s a new 18 Year Old Marsala Cask Finish, which owes its distinctive flavour to the influence of a small number of Marsala hogsheads.

The BenRiach 15 Year Old Sauternes Finish, is matured in the traditional style in American bourbon barrels, then finished in Sauternes casks from the Bordeaux region of France. Sauternes gives its name to an award-winning dessert wine and the finishing effect on the whisky is stunning, as the tasting notes reveal.

The BenRiach 18 Year Old Albariza, is distilled from peated malted barley, matured in American oak casks and then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The whisky has been named after the white soil with high chalk content whose characteristics make it the best type of soil for growing grapes used in the production of sherry. This whisky combines the distinctive BenRiach aroma of peat with a silky sherry sweetness to make it a memorable dram.

GlenDronach 18 Year Old Marsala Cask Finish, is a unique expression that was initially matured in European oak casks and thereafter finished its maturation in a small batch of Marsala hogsheads. The aromatic influence of the Italian fortified wine cask on the sweet Highland malt whisky is spectacular, creating a new layer of depth that stunningly marries together summer fruits with peppery oak spice.

All three of the new releases are natural in colour, non-chill filtered, bottled at 46% ABV and are now available from specialist retailers.

Glendronach releases Batch 11 of its single cask bottlings

GlenDronach_Batch_11_1971_cask_#_2920_Infront (1)Award winning Aberdeenshire distillery GlenDronach, has today announced the release of its 11th batch of single cask bottlings.

Ranging from 18 to 43 years in age, the nine new releases offer a huge and intriguing variety, six of which were matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons, two in Oloroso sherry butts and one in an Oloroso sherry puncheon.

The oldest, 1971 Cask Number 2920 (48.6% ABV) is a 43 Years Old malt matured in a Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon. Intense treacle toffee floods over sour plums and roasted coffee. Harmonising waves of leather and tobacco give great depth and are balanced perfectly by a subtle toasted walnut and date back note.

As a contrast the 18 Year Old from Cask Number 244 (56.9% ABV) is the youngest, distilled in February 1996. Matured in an Oloroso sherry butt, there is a tremendous balance of mixed candied peel and stewed dark fruits sprinkled with dark Demerara. Delicious waves of toffee, cracked barley and warm oak spices combine to give a long and elegant finish.

All nine single casks have been hand-selected by BenRiach’s Managing Director and Master Distiller Billy Walker who described them as “sensational” and added: “I believe Batch 11 makes a very simple point – the wood has a huge influence on the spirit. You immediately sense – and taste – the influence of the casks on these nine sublime single malts. The subtle interaction of the ex-sherry wood with the Highland spirit over long dark years in the warehouse creates a luxurious and amazingly complex raft of flavours. In these nine expressions you feel the pulse of our inventory at GlenDronach and the idiosyncratic personality of the casks coming through. That, plus the passion and craftsmanship of our people, is what produces these incredible whiskies time and time again.”

The full list of single cask bottlings from Batch 11:

1971 Cask Number 2920 – 43 Year Old – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon (48.6% ABV)

1990 Cask Number 1020 – 24 Year Old – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon (53.8% ABV)
1990 Cask Number 1162 – 24 Year Old – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon (52.9% ABV)
1994 Cask Number 54 – 20 Year Old – Oloroso Sherry Butt (56.6% ABV)
1994 Cask Number 3201 – 20 Year Old – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon (56.2% ABV)
1994 Cask Number 3386 – 20 Year Old – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon (53.6% ABV)
1995 Cask Number 538 – 19 Year Old – Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon (55 ABV)
1995 Cask Number 4941 – 19 Year Old – Oloroso Sherry Puncheon (57% ABV)
1996 Cask Number 244 – 18 years old – Oloroso Sherry Butt (56.9% ABV)

All nine of the new releases were bottled in November 2014 and are available now from specialist retailers.

Three New Special Releases From BenRiach & GlenDronach

BenRiach 10th Anniversary 2004 10 Year OldThe BenRiach Distillery Company have announced three new special releases the BenRiach 10th Anniversary bottling, the BenRiach 35 year old and the 24 year old Batch 6 of GlenDronach’s Grandeur series.The BenRiach Distillery Company have announced three new special releases – two from BenRiach itself and one from GlenDronach.

First up we have the BenRiach 10th Anniversary bottling is a strictly limited edition one-off bottling to commemorate a very special occasion. Back in 2004, Billy Walker and his two South African partners Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter purchased BenRiach and turned it into one of Scotland’s most admired distilleries.

On September 20 that year, the first distillation under the new owners was filled to cask. Ten years on, Billy Walker has married together four outstanding casks from the first week of production to create this limited bottling, it has been bottled 46% ABV and is a limited release of only 1106 bottles.

The four bourbon barrels – 7257, 7258, 7259 and 7260 – distilled on September 21, 2004, are perfect choices to celebrate BenRiach’s tenth birthday, as the tasting notes show.

BenRiach 10th Anniversary Tasting Notes


Producer’s Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gleaming rich harvest gold.

Nose: Ripe white pear, fruit salad syrup and rich clotted cream hold a crisp twist of candied peel and soft vanilla.

Taste:  Crisp barley with peppery toasted oak and stem ginger flood over rich crème brulee, coconut butter and vanilla poached pear.

BenRiach 35 Year Old Tasting Notes


BenRiach 35 Year OldNext up is another exclusive expression – the BenRiach 35 year old.

Non-chill filtered, bottled at natural colour and at 42.5% ABV., BenRiach tell me that it superbly complements BenRiach’s award-winning 25 year old which was released in 2006. And like the 25 years old, the 35 year old is a classic Speyside, proffering some lovely fruit notes and dry spice – sweet, fruity and simply beautiful.

Billy Walker’s tasting notes show this is an exceptional malt to be consciously savoured, enjoying every stage from nose to tongue to afterglow with each sip.

Producer’s Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gleaming rich golden amber.

Nose: Luscious tropical fruit salad syrup with a delicate ripped mint and chocolate back note; all warmed by a gentle toasted oak spice.

Taste:  A classic Speyside style combining waves of papaya and dried apricots with freshly-sawn oak spices, touches of golden syrup and distant milk chocolate which gently flow through the elegant long finish.

GlenDronach Grandeur 24 Year Old Batch 6 Tasting Notes


GlenDronach Grandeur 24 Year Old Batch 6Last and certainly not least, completing the trio of special releases is Batch 6 of GlenDronach’s “Grandeur” series.

This latest batch from the Aberdeenshire distillery is a 24 year old whisky that’s been specially selected by Billy Walker from some of the oldest and most characterful Oloroso sherry casks at GlenDronach.

Bottled at 48.9% ABV and individually numbered by hand, the batch is limited to just 1180 bottles and generously filled with luscious fruity aromas, rich sherry and dark chocolate flavours.

Producer’s Tasting Notes:

Colour: Glistening burnt amber holds a rich crimson heart.

Nose: A magnificent combination of honey-drenched dates and succulent raisins which gently ebb and flow with waves of delicate orange blossom, mint and cracked black pepper. Hints of glazed cherries and toasted almonds perfectly complement the seductive nose. A nose to be appreciated slowly and often.

Taste:  A fabulously full-bodied, vibrant palate captures a multitude of classic sherry cask characteristics. The delicate sweetness of rum-soaked golden sultanas refines rich espresso, dark chocolate and treacle toffee. Zesty orange oil softens to a deep clove spice and prolongs the ever-changing palate. A sublime example of understanding the relationship between cask and single malt perfectly.