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Day 16 – Samaroli Benriach 1996 Single Malt | Blog #105

G’day everyone and welcome to day 16. Time seems to be flying by as we start to feel the excitement of the lead up to Christmas Day.

Today we have another Samaroli Single Malt that has been a big hit with those that came along to a few of the “sneak peek” events that I did in November at Zyn Bankers Hall and the Taste of the Season events at Wine and Beyond.

BenRiach Distillery BenRiach Distillery

Benriach was established in 1898 next to the Longmorn Distillery and the two distilleries were joined by a private railroad with a private steam driven locomotive called the Puggy which ran barrels and distilling supplies between the two. Closed in 1900 Benriach did not produce spirit again until 1965. In 1978 it was sold again to Seagrams but was only utilized for 3 months of each year for production. In 2004 Billy Walker along with South African partners purchased Benriach and has since added Glendronach and Glenglassaugh to their list of distilleries.

Samaroli Benriach 1996 – 19 Year Old, bottled at 43% ABV and aged in new American Oak cask # 45763. Speyside.

Colour:     Actually a lot darker than most Samaroli whiskies found in this years edition it is still light for 19 years, pale gold.

Nose:     Ripe Honeydew Melon and tangerine compote. This would be a fabulous nose for a Breakfast Whisky. Home made Apricot jam on sourdough toast.

Palate:     Dominating apricot still with tangerine a plenty here on the palate. Vibrant and bursting with flavor easily the most fruit forward Benriach I have ever had at 19 years. The toast comes through as well adding an underlining character to all the fruit.

Finish:     Lingering but softening, the apricot fades away leaving the citrus acidity to finish things off.

This is an exceptionally well balanced whisky that keeps the promise of the nose running right through to the very end. This is delightful whisky and another big tick in the usage of new oak to keep the fruits rolling along year after year as the barrel sits in the darkened warehouse awaiting the nod from our Italian friends.

Joshua Hatton the literary library of tastes and descriptive foods writes about the Samaroli Benriach HERE

Last year on this day we tasted the Wemyss Pastille Bouquet 1998 Mortlach 15 Year Old. Blog #48

If you liked this fruity Benriach number from Samaroli you can find one of the only 30 bottles available from these retailers:

Calgary

Highlander Wines and Spirits

Zyn the Wine Market

Edmonton

Wine and Beyond

Tomorrow we have our last younger expression of Single Malt in this years edition this time by A.D. Rattray and an opportunity to compare a different age and cask from a distillery that we have already visited earlier.

See you tomorrow.

Cheers!

Day 3 Samaroli Spey 1996 – Blended Malt Glentauchers and Benriach | Blog # 92

Welcome to day 3. For the first time we get to use the Samaroli Whisky glass for a Samaroli whisky.

Samaroli have been around since 1968 (the year I was born). Silvano Samaroli at that time was the only visionary outside of the UK buying up large amounts of Scottish Whisky. Defying tradition and coming at Scotch from a uniquely Italian perspective Silvano filled the majority of his newly purchased whisky into new oak barrels. Scotch has traditionally been aged in either used American or European oak.

The reason for this departure from the norm was the endless search of the delicate complexity that Silvano saw as the pinnacle of why Scotch whisky is so incredible. Certainly this can be achieved using ex bourbon or sherry casks however it does seem to be the odd special cask rather than the norm that keeps the delicate fruits over a long period of time.

Samaroli never chill filter despite many of their whiskies dropping below 46%. The big heavy Italian wine bottles that are a hallmark of the Samaroli brand hide any potential clouding and takes away the possibility of “darker means older” perceptions.

Samaroli whiskies are the lightest in colour for older age statements that I have ever seen. Chalk this down to the use of lightly toasted new oak that leaves subtle and minimal impact on the whisky.

So whenever you are reaching for a bottle of Samaroli it really is time for a navel gazing, eyes closed contemplative think about what is in your glass.

For those that missed my little piece on blended malts please check it out here in blog #89 before going any further. Now that you have some context lets delve into today’s whisky.

Samaroli Spey 1996 – 19 Year Old Blended Malt – 3 single casks #’s 4234, 4235 & 4573. Speyside distilleries Glentauchers and Benriach bottled at 43% ABV.

Colour:     Unoaked Chardonnay – quite pale for 19 years.

Nose:     Wow fruits a plenty here, peach cobbler, pear and sweet ripe fuji apples.

Palate:     Light and creamy, whipped farm cream on fruit flan.

Finish:     A touch of meringue and whisps of cotton candy and swiss white chocolate. I would defy anyone to taste this and think it somewhat inferior to Single Malt or if you could even guess that it was a combination of malts from 2 different distilleries.

43 % is oh so soft and it is with their own conviction about achieving this delicate balance that drives Samaroli to bottle it at exactly the strength they are convinced hits the mark. Many have said they would love to see some Samaroli Cask strength versions. I will certainly put in a request however this is what Samaroli is all about bottling delicate and complex whisky their way.

I am unabashedly in love with what Samaroli bring to the world of Scotch Whisky.

Don’t get me wrong I love a big robust malt and as stated in many blogs before now I am an equal opportunity drinker when it comes to whisky/ey. I am however more impressed by layers of complex notes that require time and thought to get to the bottom of in any style of whisky. For me Samaroli has become a bit of a benchmark for the best of what Scotch whisky can be purely because they seem to be able to achieve this on a regular basis.

**My friend and fellow blogger Joshua Hatton is blogging side by side with me this year as our special guest. Be sure to check out his take on the Samaroli Spey Glentauchers/Benriach 19 year old blended malt.

The First Edition Calendar Whisky on this day last year was the Samaroli Spey 21 Year old Cragganmore Single Malt – 21yo Blog #35

For those that loved this Samaroli Spey 19 Year Old you can find one of only 30 bottles available at the following retailers:

Calgary

Zyn The Wine Market

Edmonton

Wine and Beyond

Tomorrow time for our 4th Independent Bottler and a whisky that has created quite a stir around the Social media airwaves.

Looking forward to day 4.

Happy dramming!