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Benriach 15 Year Old Madeira Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 46%
Re invigoration is a recurring theme in the genealogy of Scotch Whisky.
Brands beget more brands, families become companies. Sometimes sullied by rivalry, sometimes completely ruined on the waves of boom and bust, sometimes re-generated to new heights... When BenRiach hit the shelves almost a decade ago with its “Heart of Speyside” range, it's presence was so inconspicuous that it failed to register on most whisky drinker's radars.
Lately BenRiach has been making its way back to the Australian market in more confident strides. Early releases were promising, then somewhere along the way the quality across the board took an amazing leap forward. Tasting after tasting, these whiskies were wonderfully expressive, balanced, superbly pure (as well as reasonably priced) - and a lot of it had to do with a change in ownership. Since 1898, BenRiach has been owned and managed under a number of names and guises, including Glenlivet, who virtually rebuilt the distillery in 1965 after a 65 year closure. In 1985 BenRiach was enlarged to four stills. Seagrams then Pernod Ricard had their turn. But the Benriach brand was only marketed in its own right in 1994, not long before the distillery was subsequently mothballed in 2002. The latest in this roller coaster ride saw BenRiach re-launched by an independent South African consortium. In 2004, Billy Walker (chemist & Master Distiller) together with two South African partners, Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter, purchased BenRiach (and shortly after, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh). The 5.4 million pound deal included several thousand casks (hence the availability of a 25 Year old. In fact, the distillery’s present inventory contains over 20,000 casks, some of which date as far back as 1966). Production was almost immediately resumed, and included some seriously peaty styles. (If you think that peated Highlanders were a recent fad capitalising on Islay's growing popularity, peated whiskies have actually been going strong at BenRiach since 1972 when they were being produced to cater for use in several Chivas blends). There are now six collections in the BenRiach stable: “Classic Speyside”, “Peated”, “Wood Finishes”, “Peated Wood Finishes”, “Super Premiums” and “Limited Releases”. Getting past some the revamped packaging with its seemingly out of place latin formulations (“Curiositas”, “Authenticus”, “Septemdicum”), many of the latest expressions embody a tangible passion that goes hand in hand with private ownership. They confirm Jim Murray's high expectations since BenRiach gained another lease of life. Murray has further commented,“It was with delight, while sworn to secrecy, that I witnessed BenRiach gaining its independence, when a team led by the experienced and infectiously enthusiastic Billy Walker acquired the Distillery. This independence will allow BenRiach to unlock its secrets and bring its fine and surprising malts officially to the market in their natural state for the first time. There cannot be a single true lover of whisky who will not rejoice because of it." This 15 year old Benriach was finished in Madeira barrels from Henriques and Henriques after an initial maturation in ex-bourbon American oak casks.
Other Reviews...Very much drier than most Madeira finishes you will find around. Once the scramble on delivery is over, this bottling simply exudes excellence. A collector's must have. 89.5 Points - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2014