CaskStrength Blog Arran & BenRiach

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Great work from Neil & Joel

In case you, our dear reader, only read one whisky blog, let me catch you up. There is an exciting Whisky Blogosphere out there, and one of the most well known, well written and well respected blogs out there, is Neil & Joel’s Caskstrength Blog. Having met Neil & Joel many times, I can vouch that they are lovely chaps, and I consider them both good friends. And that’s why I owe them an apology.

The Apology

Last year, their blog turned 3 years old, and to celebrate they released a whisky. An Arran 13 years old to be precise. They sent out samples and a witty press release. Unfortunately, I was crazy busy at this moment in my life. Sometimes life does this to you. I kept meaning to write about their whisky, but when I finally had a free minute to do so, the moment had passed. It felt too late to post a review online. I have thought about it ever since (anyone who knows me will verify that I have a tendency to over think things) and I have been trying to select the best moment to give their whisky, and their blog, the coverage it deserves. The moment has arrived! They have just released a second whisky, so I will review both and just say: Chaps, many apologies for taking so long to review your whisky, and congratulations on releasing whisky!

They are approaching this releasing whisky malarkey in a very organised and logical manner, by doing it alphabetically. Arran was their first whisky, BenRiach is their second. What will be third, I wonder? Cardhu, Caol ila, Cameron Brig, Caledonian, Charbay, Chichibu? Who knows. Anyways, let’s get on to my long awaited review. For this review, since Neil & Joel are musical chaps, I have matched music to the whisky:

CaskStrength & Carry On Arran 13 Year Old
Single Cask Bottling. 49.9% ABV
If you want to buy it, you will have to search auctions

Chosen Album to listen to while dramming: The Rumble Strips “Girls & Weather”

Nose: Some sort of vanilla biscuit, like a Bourbon biscuit. Heather, lemons, a slight hint of grass and a bit creamy. Slightly appley and a brackish nature. It’s a refreshing nose and vibrant nose and the album I am listening to is quite vibrant (clearly I am a pro at matching booze to music).

With Water: More citrus, slight white wine note. Green wine gums (I’m definitely in the mood for some sweets this evening!).

Palate: Guava, pears, apples. Oh, it’s lovely stuff. Almost going like some of the Pure Pot Still Jameson. Grapefruit and purple fruit pastels.

With Water: It loses some of the fruitiness and becomes a bit sharper. It’s better at CaskStrength.

Overall: Top notch stuff. Shame I only had a sample. This kind of whisky is right up my alley. Fruity, crisp, complex. Lovely. Now on to this year’s release.

 

 

CaskStrength & Carry On BenRiach 16 Year Old
Single Cask Bottling. Ex Pedro Ximinez Hogshead

296 Bottles. 56.2% ABV
Buy it here for £54.95

Chosen Album to listen to while dramming: PJ Harvey “Let England Shake” & Anna Calvi “Anna Calvi”

Nose: Raisins, cocoa, cassis and cinnamon. I think it needs a little water.

With water: Becomes more honeyed. a lovely, rich nose, but not overly sherried.

Palate: Warming, rich, velvety, plums and very chocolatey.

With Water: Dark chocolate covered nuts and spices.

Overall: I liked the Arran more, but I can see the BenRiach’s appeal. Very well chosen, as the PX hasn’t overpowered the whisky.

Great job Chaps! Keep them coming!

Chris Hoban

Comments

  1. Chris,

    thanks for the review(s). Much appreciated and no need for the apology. Looking forward to sharing a dram when we next see each other.

    Cheerio!

    Joel + Neil
    http://www.caskstrength.net

  2. Hi Chris,
    If ever there could be a fortuitous outcome to a hectic Hoban it is this post: I missed the CaskStrength Arran last year, too, so I’m delighted that you put me in the picture here.
    Perhaps with 2011′s negligence in mind, Joel and Neil’s BenRiach was a must-buy this time around. Our views are very similar, as I felt the marriage of wood types produced an excellent whisky which benefits from a little water added.
    For fullest appreciation, I may pair it with Coco Chocolate, rather than music, however.

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