Info: BenRiach 18 Years Old Albariza is part of the new heavily peated range. Originally matured in American oak casks, then finished in Pedro Xinenez sherry casks.
The name ‘Albariza’ is derived from the typical white soil used for growing grapes in the production of sherry in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain. It’s bottled at 46%, at natural colour and non chill filtered, limited release.
Colour: Rich dark rusty gold.
Nose: Really rich and deep, lots of layers of raisiny sherry fruits and peaty goodness. Not too much oak which is good, it smells more accomplished (i.e. older) than its 18 years.
Palate: Pretty thick and very smooth, lots of lovely earthy mossey peat smoke interspersed with lots of deep raisiny goodness and stewed winter fruits. Just the smallest hint of Band-Aid plasters (not unusual for a peated dram).
Finish: Really thick, sweet, rich and slow with peaty smoke, it gives your chest a lovely long oily hug.
Thoughts: Top quality stuff from BenRiach, as usual… something to relish on a cool evening. I know that one of my friends isn’t quite as sure on this malt as me, but I love it. I could imagine this working really well with some 70%+ dark chocolate.
Available: Pretty much sold out (was around £70), there’s some still going on Amazon for more than market rate and you may find it elsewhere if you’re lucky.
My own stock from a bottle share with friends.