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Scotch

BenRiach The Forty

$4.00

OVERALL
RATING

10

Whisky Review: BenRiach The Forty

Tasting Notes:

About:
40 year old, matured in bourbon casks and finished in a combination of bourbon and port casks, 43.5% abv, SRP $4,500. Color: Mahogany with evenly spaced legs.
Appearance:
Nose:
From the moment this touches the glass it smells exactly how you imagine it would. Warm and inviting oak with a soft hint of sea salt. It evolves into smelling of old books. As it warms in the glass you are entreated to chocolate covered cherries, burnt oranges, and walnut wood. The smell cascades across the nose.
Palate:
The first sip, just holding it on the tongue, brings out salt brine and tobacco leaf. Throughout the sip it shows off white peach, and peat smokiness buried underneath. The mouthfeel is surprisingly watery but the abv is not particularly high which lends to the taste. It sticks to the back corners of the jaw though and settles in. As it progresses to the finish I find leather and tobacco giving way to orchard fruits like crisp apple and plum. The whisky just sits, quietly, on your tongue and waits. The alcohol warms the chest but never more than a calm ember. . What I got was an extremely refined whisky with balance almost like a ballet. It spent 40-years in oak and you don’t get assailed by the strongest flavors. To the contrary you get the most delicate notes in the profile, the orchard fruits, the peach, the walnut. It’s masterfully created and although I’d never spring for it, it is exquisite. Sending User Review 0 (0 votes) Buy A Bottle Share: XFacebookLinkedInEmail Drinks Aizome Island – Tropical Style Minor Cobbler Strawberry Rhubarb Julep Crimson & Clover Club Wynken, Blynken, & Nog Related Articles Whiskey Review: Highline Triple Rye Whiskey Editor’s Note: This whiskey was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whiskey Review: Highline Triple Rye Whiskey American / Reviews Whiskey Review: Savage & Cooke American Whiskey Editor’s Note: This whiskey was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whiskey Review: Savage & Cooke American Whiskey American / Reviews Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Octomore 14.3 Editor’s Note: This whisky was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Octomore 14.3 Reviews / Scotch Whisky Review: Glenglassaugh 12 Years Old Editor’s Note: This whisky was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whisky Review: Glenglassaugh 12 Years Old Reviews / Scotch Whiskey Review: Highline American Whiskey Editor’s Note: This whiskey was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whiskey Review: Highline American Whiskey American / Reviews Whiskey Review: Savage & Cooke Rye Whiskey Editor’s Note: This whiskey was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whiskey Review: Savage & Cooke Rye Whiskey American / Reviews Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Octomore 14.2 Editor’s Note: This whisky was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Octomore 14.2 Reviews / Scotch Whisky Review: Glenglassaugh Sandend Editor’s Note: This whisky was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whisky Review: Glenglassaugh Sandend Reviews / Scotch Whiskey Review: Highline Straight Kentucky Whiskey Editor’s Note: This whiskey was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whiskey Review: Highline Straight Kentucky Whiskey American / Reviews Whiskey Review: Savage & Cooke Bourbon Editor’s Note: This whiskey was… READ ARTICLE ? about Whiskey Review: Savage & Cooke Bourbon Bourbon / Reviews Charles Steele Charles Steele is a Portland area attorney, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His legal education affords him an analytical approach to understanding whiskey and other aged spirits. Traditionally a legal writer, freelancing for The Whiskey Wash will prove a unique opportunity to flex his writing skills. Although he… More by Charles Steele Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Connect with on on LinkedIn About Advertise Subscribe Editorial Standards Privacy Policy Terms of Use
Finish:
Comments:
I had to check my expectations with this. Forty years in wood is a long time – it’s a lifetime in oak. I thought it was going to be so powerful and robust, I was expecting waves of flavor to cascade over my palate.rnrnWhat I got was an extremely refined whisky with balance almost like a ballet. It spent 40-years in oak and you don’t get assailed by the strongest flavors. To the contrary you get the most delicate notes in the profile, the orchard fruits, the peach, the walnut. It’s masterfully created and although I’d never spring for it, it is exquisite.

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs. 

It isn’t every day you are tasked with reviewing a whiskey older than you. There is a solemnity which comes with drinking a forty year old Scotch whisky. This was distilled and barreled when Ronald Reagan was president of the United States, the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of the United Kingdom and the least controversial thing I’ll say is Nintendo’s Mario and Luigi became an arcade game in Japan. In the North Speyside region, south of Elgin, close to the Longmorn Distillery, BenRiach laid down a barrel which would sleep forty years before becoming a bottle of whisky.

BenRiach is a Speyside style Scotch with a special propensity for peated whisky. Speyside, historically, is famous for their non-peated profiles. BenRiach, starting in the 1970’s, bucked the trend and made small batch Scotch with highly peated spirits.

“Fine bourbon casks have gradually developed exquisite notes of honeyed pomelo and lush orchard fruits to create BenRiach ‘The Forty.’ Over the decades of maturation, the smoky character of peated BenRiach spirit refines and mellows, transforming into ripe fruit sweetness,” said its Master Blender Rachel Barrie. In fact this is the oldest peated malt ever released from a Speyside distillery.

BenRiach is a small competitor in the very intense Speyside region. Macallan, Dalwhinnie, Balvenie, Glenfarclas and Glenfiddich call Speyside home. The smallest region of Scotland is home to the largest producers of Scotch. Where MaCallan has 12 wash stills and 24 spirits stills producing 15 million liters of whisky, BenRiach has 2 wash and 2 spirit stills producing 2.8 million liters of whisky. Which is to say you’re forgiven for not knowing BenRiach is a Speyside Scotch or even exists.

From 1900 to 1965, BenRiach was a floor malting facility, producing malted barley for use by other distilleries. Shortly thereafter it began making whisky using peated malt in its whisky production. which brings us to today. This is the second forty year release from BenRiach – the first was last year as part of an NFT via Blockbar. Fortunately for consumers, the craze of NFT’s has subsided and now you can purchase your own, physical, 40-year scotch for the paltry sum of $4,500 US.

This whisky has spent a long time sleeping in oak. When it was laid down, whiskey in general was falling out of favor to clear spirits, and there was no guarantee it would ever see the light of day. A sister distillery, Glendronach, would go out and back into business while this slept. In conclusion it’s rare to drink something this old, it’s rare to encounter something like this to be totally honest.

I preface my review by saying I will do my best to give this a fair shake and responsible review. With that, we turn to the glass.

Benriach The Forty review
We review Benriach The Forty, a 40 year old, peated Speyside malt whisky matured in bourbon casks and finished in a combination of bourbon and port casks. (image via BenRiach)

Tasting Notes: BenRiach The Forty

Vital Stats: 40 year old, matured in bourbon casks and finished in a combination of bourbon and port casks, 43.5% abv, SRP $4,500.

Color: Mahogany with evenly spaced legs.

Nose: From the moment this touches the glass it smells exactly how you imagine it would. Warm and inviting oak with a soft hint of sea salt. It evolves into smelling of old books. As it warms in the glass you are entreated to chocolate covered cherries, burnt oranges, and walnut wood. The smell cascades across the nose.

Taste: The first sip, just holding it on the tongue, brings out salt brine and tobacco leaf. Throughout the sip it shows off white peach, and peat smokiness buried underneath. The mouthfeel is surprisingly watery but the abv is not particularly high which lends to the taste. It sticks to the back corners of the jaw though and settles in. As it progresses to the finish I find leather and tobacco giving way to orchard fruits like crisp apple and plum. The whisky just sits, quietly, on your tongue and waits. The alcohol warms the chest but never more than a calm ember.

5 Sherried Whisky Alternatives

Here are my recommendations for those of you who want something sweet and luscious, but a little different in your glass this year. 

Charles Steele

Charles Steele is a Portland area attorney, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His legal education affords him an analytical approach to understanding whiskey and other aged spirits. Traditionally a legal writer, freelancing for The Whiskey Wash will prove a unique opportunity to flex his writing skills. Although he prefers whiskey and whiskey based cocktails, he has a profound affection for all unique and strange liquors from Malort to Ojen, if it's odd he wants it.

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