Benriach 20 Year Old

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Distillery/Brand: BenRiach
Region: Speyside
ABV: 43%
Colour: Sunlight

Nose: 21
Taste: 21
Finish: 20
Balance: 20

Review
The BenRiach 20 was one of the first single malts I had ever purchased in my life – thanks to an overly eager salesperson. And I remember absolutely hating it! It tasted so vile I never wanted to see another BenRiach again in my life.

So it was with a sense of trepidation that three years later I decided to re-visit the same bottle and see if my first impressions were on point or not.

The answer is Yes and No. Yes, it is still not a great whisky. No, it’s not as bad as I remember.

I don’t know if it’s three years of oxidization or my now generous soul but this expression is OK. Not good; just OK.

Nose: Delicate Speyside with a mix of fruity florals and perfumed barley followed by a melon sweetness which is underscored by a dash of salt and pepper.

Palate: Prickly spice in a drizzle of light fruity honey. One dimensional at best.

Finish: Long and spicy with a strong bitter citrus after taste.

Look, this is not the vile swill I had a while ago but it’s not what I would serve to my whisky club. They would politely put their glasses away.

Rating: 82

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Glenfarclas 105 – 20 Years Old

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Distillery/Brand: Glenfarclas
ABV: 60%
Region: Speyside
Colour: Copper

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 24
Balance: 23

Review
This is a special bottling of the already awesome Glenfarclas 105, matured in sherry casks for 20 years. Served up at an eye-watering 60% ABV this single malt is not to be messed with!

The nose is strong and floral with an intense rose garland aroma. Strong sugars, flowing jaggery and a sprinkle of black pepper spices make up the dominant nose. Spend a little more time and you can discern pleasantly ripe bananas too!

The delivery is nothing short of spectacular! Imagine a dark chocolate hand grenade with a side of black pepper C4 exploding in your mouth without mercy. The 60% ABV comes into it’s own here carrying with it dark plums, juicy raisins and a touch of something minty all swirled in gorgeous dark rum. A delivery hard to forget.

The nutty long finish is intensely spicy with an oaky dryness rounding off a smashing high strength sherry rendezvous.

Rating: 94