BenRiach 16 Years Sauternes Finish Review

“Nice After Dinner Dram”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highland - Speyside
Brand: BenRiach Sauternes Wood Finish
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age:  16 Years
ABV:  46 % 
Date: 04/05/2014

Colour: Rich Gold/Oloroso Sherry (Natural Colour)

Nose: Subdued but Elegant. I find Sweet Barley, light Honey, Marzipan, Toffee,  Caramel, Butterscotch, light Vanilla, Syrup, Toast, Straw, Oak, Nuts, Banana, Peach, Apricot, Red Apple, Cinnamon and a hint of Sherry or White Wine Must. As the BenRiach did not mature in Ex-Sherry Casks, this is probably the effect of the Sauternes Cask Finishing. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.   

Palate: Sweet and Spicy with Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Sugared Nuts, Caramel, Oak, Butterscotch, Toffee, Caramel, light Honey, Peach, Apricot, Peanut Butter, White Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Citrus and Sherry/Sweet White Wine tones.

Finish: Middle-Long, Sweet and Spicy with Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, light Licorice, Oak, White Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and a pinch of Salt.

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose and on the Palate the Barley, Fruit and Honey are enhanced. The Finish becomes too short though. I prefer it neat as usual but you can carefully add a few drops.

Rating: 85

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks: The BenRiach distillery is located in the heart of the Speyside between Elgin and Rothes. It was founded around 1898 by John Duff, the owner of the nearby Longmorn distillery. Today it's one of the few distilleries with its own Malting Floors. Since 2004, it is independently owned by BenRiach Distillery Company. Most of their production goes into the Chivas Regal Blends. 
The Sauternes Wood is a limited edition of only around 1700 bottles that matured in Ex-Bourbon Casks for around 15 years before being finished in First Refill French Oak Casks that previously carried the famous sweet dessert wine Chateau d' Yquem from the Bordeaux region. It is sold on average at around 70 US Dollars but prices may vary a lot from place to place. I saw prices as low as 50 and as high as 120 US Dollars. This BenRiach is not Chill-Filtered.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The BenRiach Sauternes Finish is not a very complex Single Malt but it's well-balanced and very suitable as an after dinner Spirit, especially with Sweet Fruit, Ice Cream or Pastry. The Sauternes influence is never too present and merely adds an extra touch to the overall flavour and aroma profile. When compared to the similar Glenmorangie 12 Years Nectar d' Or (*), I find that the BenRiach is less Sweet and a tad more Elegant. Both of them are great over Vanilla Ice-Cream. Just try it out!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   May 2014

(*)  I rated the Glenmorangie 12 Years Nectar d' Or slightly higher but as I tasted that Malt when I had just started, I might have scored the Glenmorangie a tad too high. I will maintain the original score but if I would taste both Malts today, I would probably down score the Glenmorangie to around 84 points.


Hans-Werner Rudat said...

Hello from Germany, Jan, interesting blog! I put to my favorites and will be guest again soon :-) Rudi, "The Single Malt Hunter"

Jan van den Ende said...

Hallo Rudi, Es freut mich sehr dass mein Blog dir gefallen hat!
Gruss aus Sao Paulo