Life 2.0. It’s a concept that I’ve been talking about over drinks with the guys for the past couple years. Life 2.0 represents my dream of one day finding a career that (a) makes me look forward to Monday mornings, and (b) enables me to pay the bills AND make enough money to have a bit of fun from time to time. Given the state of the economy, a Life 2.0 dream is a bit of a tall order (especially when I have no idea what I want to do in my version of Life 2.0), but that doesn’t mean people aren’t out there pursuing their Life 2.0 dreams and actually making them come true. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, Life 2.0 is out there. It’s waiting for you. You just need to have the vision and cojones to go out there and get it.
The reality is that my day job (we’ll call this Life version 1.5.1 right now) isn’t bad at all. I earn a fair wage, I get along with just about every one (there might even be one or two people that actually like me!), and 99% of the time, I’m home by 6PM so that I can spend some time with the family. I truly have no right to complain. When my father was my age, he was working five to seven days a week in a North Philadelphia textile factory, so when I put things into perspective, my life is pretty damn good.
So what does any of this have to do with a whisky review? Easy answer. The company that imports the subject of today’s whisky review was formed by three gentlemen (Joshua Hatton, Seth Klaskin, and Jason Johnstone-Yellin) with varied backgrounds and a mutual love of whisky. They pursued their Life 2.0 dreams by creating the Jewish Whisky Company. Thanks to their passion, vision, and bravado, we can now enjoy their Single Cask Nation independent bottlings (assuming that you’re a member of course).
Here is some more information about this particular whisky taken directly from the Single Cask Nation website:
Located just a hop, skip, and a jump from the town of Elgin in the Speyside whisky region, BenRiach distillery was built in 1898. Owned by The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd since 2004 the distillery employs a rare four wash system when steeping the mash (soaking the barley to extract the sugars, which are fermentable). Known for their peated spirit as much as their unpeated, we’re very pleased to offer this older single cask of peated BenRiach.
This cask bottling, distilled in June 1995, spent seventeen years maturing in a second fill ex-bourbon barrel. It was bottled this summer at 53.2% ABV. Cask #2522 yielded 225 bottles.
And now for my tasting notes and final impressions of this whisky…
- Appearance: Liquid gold in a glass.
- Aroma: Truth in advertising strikes again! The name says peated, and it’s all there when you stick your nose in the glass. As far as what kind of smoke, I’m definitely getting a cigar ash type of smokiness. Get past the smoke and some herbal notes shine through. Think peppermint, Good and Plenty (candy coated licorice. Yum!), and some fresh cracked pepper.
- Taste: There’s a bit of weight to this whisky when it hits your tongue, and the mouthfeel is slightly oily. The initial taste brings cigar ash smokiness immediately followed by some strong cracked pepper heat. While the smoky pepperiness never goes away, some of those candy coated licorice notes manage to break through at mid-palate and come along for the ride. Dry, smoky/peppery finish that lingers for at least a minute or two.
- Age Statement: 17 Years Old, 2nd Fill Ex-Bourbon
- ABV: 53.2%
This is my first experience with the BenRiach Distillery, and had you told me that this was an Islay whisky (as opposed to the Speyside region that it actually comes from), I would have believed you. And if you had told me that this was a very young Islay whisky, I would have believed that as well! To put my mind at ease, I followed this up with a shtickle of Laphroaig 10. While the BenRiach lacked the medicinal qualities of the Laphroaig 10, it had about 70 to 80% of the smokiness. Overall, I found the BenRiach to be a very enjoyable and highly drinkable whisky, but I didn’t like it as much as the other two Single Cask Nation bottlings (especially the Arran Pinot Cask. That stuff was ridiculously good!).
Many thanks to The Jewish Whisky Company for this very generous sample!