Drawing on this expression’s title alone, the keywords “peated” and “cask strength” promise a good time, even without the addition of an age statement. This second batch in BenRiach’s Peated Cask Strength series was matured in bourbon barrels and oloroso sherry casks, blended together by BenRiach’s master blender Rachel Barrie.
The nose is just as one hopes for while enjoying a dram of peated whisky: campfire smoke swirling around with pipe tobacco and earthen elements. As it rests in the glass, the peat takes over with a faint touch of lemon zest. The palate delivers on the promises of the nose, with more smoke than peat, and a lot more citrus. Hints of baking chocolate at the end give the sherry cask slight dominance, but adding a few drops of water helps to restore balance with the earlier peated elements.
The finish is absolutely cracking, with smoke and cocoa being major players over an extended period of time. Lots of ripe blackberry, and the tart qualities complement the smoke, a combination that can be difficult to get right. Barrie’s innate sense of blend and balance pulls it off with grace. If this is indicative of things to come, Batch 3 should be a most pleasant and welcome arrival. One could only hope they can find a Latin moniker worthy of making this a permanent addition to their blessedly consistent lineup.
A- / $100 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]