Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Experimental Whisky: Benriach 34 Year/Glendronach 33 Year Blend

My birthday whiskies from the last couple of years are just about finished, but I couldn't resist blending a bit of them together, especially because the two are now owned by Billy Walker (this could only be better if I had a bit of old Glenglassaugh to add to the mix).

How do these two old whiskies play with each other?

Benriach 34 Year/Glendronach 33 Year Blend

Nose: peaches/apricots, mango, grape/cognac, oily/creamy malt, hints of something green/herbal, gently floral heather,  solid but not overwhelming oak, light caramel. After adding a few drops of water, the fruit is toned down and the herbal/grassy notes become stronger, the malt becomes grainier, with some oak-y raisin notes coming out, making for a more austere effect overall.

Taste: big stone fruit notes throughout, a wash of honey and fresh malt with raisin undertones in the middle, that fades into green/herbal notes through more bittersweet oak at the very back. After dilution, the stone fruit notes and oak integrate with the malt, giving a more direct experience, but with sharper oak near the back.

Finish: raisins, oak tannins, malt, stone fruit, herbal, floral, and just a touch of soap

This is a great display of the power of blending - the best parts of each single malt have been pulled forward, while the flaws have been reduced significantly, leaving the whole greater than the sum of its parts. This reminds me off a Caperdonich I sampled a while back, with the combination of fruit esters and herbal notes over fairly mild oak, though this is, despite being a similar strength, much less aggressively alcoholic.

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