The nose is high and refined, marked by restraint and subtlety as much as a Victorian novelist would reign in muscular prose to produce a vitiated, yet elegant version of a description of a primal patrician. It’s a stroll with a Lord and Lady in their sun-dappled, meticulously-groomed, estate-enclosed pine forest after a few days of gentle zephyr-driven rain. It’s a sandalwood incense box (that’s also at times held thin glass vials of patchouli oil) that has been used in a Shaolin monastery for several centuries.
Condensing from vapor to liquid, the mouth experience is of a nano-bot Special Air Services (“Who Dares, Wins”) operation planting friendly firework explosions on the umami taste buds of the tongue. The glitter and sparkle resolve into lightly salted and smoked biltong strips that melt into a wonderfully long, balanced finish that sends kinematic nerve tingles all the way from the palate to the upper abdomen as zany and fun as a chaotic double pendulum aperiodically spinning and twirling. The taste, while delicious, is as defined and as elusive as the air of landed family of centuries’ standing is to a nouveau riche latecomer, even one so cultured as to have just donated 200 million dollars to enhance the Byzantine icon collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Here at The Malt Impostor, we are ever thankful for those distillers who choose to bottle some of their delightful expressions in minis, allowing us to drink (and occasionally sink our fangs into) a fine, fine dram without going broke. Sometimes, in the midst of the drinking, we just want to say, in an understated voice that suppresses the pride and elation threatening to burst out (as did Farmer Hoggett in the movie Babe), “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”
The BenRiach 20 is “Man, do I ever like bacon!”–I couldn’t go with the obvious, as we recently used the Babe reference in a rating. But this one’s just as shocking and has just as much elation threatening to burst out.