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Benriach Batch Six

by Gavin D Smith, 02/10

The Speyside distillery of BenRiach is second only to Bruichladdich in terms of the vigour of its bottling programme, and its sixth 'limited release batch' contains nine vintage expressions, ranging from a 38-year-old, distilled in 1970, to a 14-year-old from 1994.   

BenRiach's Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker says that "Batch One was released in 2004, shortly after we took over the distillery, and we have released a batch every year since. As a result, over the last five years these have built up quite a following."

Batch Six includes 'classic' Speyside styles and heavily peated BenRiachs, various wood finishes (Pedro Ximinez, Tawny Port, Gaja Barolo), and a highly unusual 1977 distillation (cask 3798) that has been matured exclusively in virgin American Oak for 31 years.

"In terms of age and style, the range reflects the breadth and depth of whiskies maturing in our five dunnage warehouse in the heart of Speyside," says Walker. "Each is bottled at cask strength, with natural colour and is non-chill-filtered. Bottles are individually numbered by hand, and housed in a gift tube."

Batch Six is being marketed in fifteen countries worldwide, and the range is on sale in the UK, mainland Europe, South Africa, Asia and New Zealand.

The full cask list is as follows:

1970 cask # 1035 - 38YO / Pedro Ximinez Sherry Finish
1975 cask # 4450 - 33YO / Peated/Tawny Port Finish
1977 cask # 3798 - 31YO / Full maturation in Virgin Oak
1978 cask # 4414 - 31YO / Gaja Barolo Finish
1978 cask # 7772 - 30YO / Classic Speyside
1984 cask # 1048 - 24YO / Peated/Pedro Ximinez Sherry Finish
1988 cask # 4424 - 20YO / Gaja Barolo Finish
1990 cask # 970 - 19YO / Classic Speyside
1994 cask # 105100 - 14YO / Classic Speyside


BenRiach, 1975, cask 4450 (Scotland)
(Heavily-peated spirit, finished in a tawny port pipe). Highly distinctive on the nose, with floral and grapefruit notes, mild smoke and olives. The palate offers more grapefruit, along with banana and discreet honey, caramel, dark fruits and oak. The finish is relatively lengthy and slowly drying, not adversely tannic. The addition of water releases a smokier, fruit note. (648 bottles) 52.2% ABV, 70cl, 240.00, specialist whisky merchants.
BenRiach, 1977, cask 3798 (Scotland)
(Matured in a virgin oak cask). The nose is sweet and buttery, with spicy vanilla and nougat. Developing cloves and even a hint of palma violets. Exposure to air gives treacle toffee notes. Stewed fruits, mixed spices, almonds and slight smokiness on the palate. The finish dries steadily but not at all insistently for a 31-year-old whisky. The virgin oak cask has handled prolonged maturation with aplomb. (292 bottles) 43.2% ABV, 70cl, 160.00, specialist whisky merchants.
BenRiach, 1978, cask 4414 (Scotland)
(Finished in a Gaja Barola hogshead). The nose is warm, rich and full, with cinnamon spice and milk chocolate notes. Full-bodied, with Seville marmalade, dark chocolate, ginger and black pepper on the palate. The long finish dries relentlessly, with oak and liquorice. (245 bottles) 51.2% ABV, 70cl, 160.00, specialist whisky merchants.
BenRiach, 1984, cask 1048 (Scotland)
(Heavily-peated spirit, finished in a Pedro Ximinex Sherry cask). A confident and luxurious nose of stewed fruits and warm, worn leather, interlaced with sweet peat. There is a nutty chocolate character to the complex palate, which also offers overt peatiness, Sherry and more mature fruit. The finish is lengthy, with dark chocolate, liquorice and smoke. (279 bottles) 49.2% ABV, 70cl, 100.00, specialist whisky merchants.
BenRiach, 1990, cask 970 (Scotland)
(Matured in an ex-Bourbon barrel). American cream soda on the nose, tangerines and honey. Very fruity in the mouth, with lots of vanilla, more honey and ginger, plus developing oakiness. The finish is medium in length and dries to tannins and cocoa powder. (195 bottles) 57.1% ABV, 70cl, 69.95, specialist whisky merchants.

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