I love whisky, I love craft beer. And I love it when the two intertwine. One bottling, in which this happens, is the 10-years-old BenRiach from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society called “Hoppy madness”. After an initial maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, this crisp Speysider received a finish in 2nd fill ex-IPA casks from Tempest Brewing Co. Originally, these casks were used in the creation of The SMWS’s blended malt Old Fashioned. Afterwards, they got a new purpose: To provide this fine, strong ‘Riach with some really nice grassy aromas on the one hand and bitterish notes on the other. This worked very well: “Hoppy madness” is immensely good fun! It is neither too flat, nor too complicated. It is the kind of dram that you can easily sip on the side, yet every time you nip at your glass you will find a new note or detail that amazes you.
Eye: Between white wine and apple juice.
Nose: Initially, I smell a fresh fruitiness (apples, grapes, peaches) with some heavier notes underneath (pancake, caramel, buttered brioche). Additionally, there are also sourish and zesty notes. And some sweet fun fair treats!
Palate: When the whisky enters the mouth, the first thing it does is covering the tongue in creamy, white chocolate. Then the fruits appear one by one: canned peaches, dried pineapples and pureed apples. Next to these sensations, there are a number of grainy and grassy flavors, too. And (again) different kinds of pastry.
Finish: In the course of the long finish, the whisky develops a bitterish quality, too. Yet, it still remains fruity and sweet. Now, I get sugared pomelos, squeezed limes, half-ripe plums, dark grapes and jellied gooseberry – all covered with a thin layer of white chocolate flakes.
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 10 years
Alc. volume: 59.5 per cent
Cask type: 2nd fill ex-IPA barrel finish
# of bottles: 252
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~60.00 Euro
More info: https://www.smws.com/ (Bottler)
*** I bought the bottle myself as a regular customer. ***