Speyside Single Malt, 16 Years, 40% ABV, $60[/caption]
Grass, mild peat and toffee greet the nose along with just a whiff of smoke. The smell has a chewy sweetness to it that is quite nice. As it breathes, the aroma opens up with corn syrup, grapefruit and a touch of brine. The taste is initially salty and sweet with notes of grapefruit, vanilla and white pepper. The salt and pepper linger and give way to a woody aftertaste. The white pepper is the strongest flavor often the sweetness subsides and, unfortunately I’m not a big fan of this flavor. The salty heat is welcome, although a bit overdone without any other interesting spices. The initial flavor is quite good, but it degrades quickly from there to a grassy bitterness. The pepper doesn’t go away for minutes and I’m hesitant to dilute it with such muted flavors. Amazingly, a bit of water helps out greatly. The tangy vanilla up front improves and the pepper is quickly brought under control. Now it’s quite nice! I’m beginning to take a great interest in Speyside whisky.
According to Master of Malt:
A Gold Medal winner at the 2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition, this 16 year old BenRiach was also a 2006 Silver Medal winner at the International Spirits Challenge.