Where were you 24 years ago? The world was a different place in 1997. The Internet was just beginning to go mainstream, Bill Clinton was sworn in as President in the United States, and over in Scotland, a certain single malt whiskey was being poured into a cask that wouldn’t be opened until just a few months ago.
Now, that 24-year-old Scotch and two others aged in casks for 23 and 12 years respectively are being released by Benriach Distillery in a special edition sale exclusive to the U.S.
“Our ‘sleeping beauties,’ as we often call these casks, continue to be sourced from all over the world, enabling us to creatively explore the full flavor possibilities of Speyside Single Malt,” Benriach master blender Rachel Barrie says. “Each cask will tell its own story of a journey of flavor where the spirit is married with oak, over years and through the seasons, to really create a unique moment in time never to be repeated again.”
Barrie hand-selected these ultra rare vintages to be bottled and sold in the U.S. market. Each is limited to a few hundred bottles per cask, and is bottled at cask strength to give the purest and most direct tasting experience.
Casked in 2009, the Cask #3812: Pedro Ximénez Puncheon comes in a 582 percent ABV with tasting notes of toasted raisin brioche, butter, sultana and orange marmalade. That bottle retails for $100 and is limited to 642 bottles.
The Cask #10297 Marsala was casked in 1998 and boasts 55.4 percent ABV. With a suggested retail price of $330, and only 264 bottles available, it has tasting notes of clementine, apricot, nectarine, cherry blossom, maple and vanilla syrup.
Eldest of all, Cask #15058 of Oloroso Puncheon from 1997 hits 55.4 percent ABV and is limited to 641 bottles, with a suggested retail price of $380. It includes tasting notes of crème brûlée with hazelnut, toasted vanilla on a base of cedarwood, spiced apple and mocha.
“From the Marsala Wine Hogshead cask … to the Pedro Ximénez Puncheon,” Barrie says, “each cask allows us to explore a different aspect of Benriach’s fruit-laden character.”
This marks the first time ever that any of these three expressions has been released to the States, and available markets do vary from state to state. Visit Benriach online to learn more.
Photography by: Courtesy of Benriach