Sunday, 16 October 2011

An Exception To The Rule... BenRiach Arumaticus Fumosus

The world is full of exceptions to rules. The English language is positively riddled with them, "'I' before 'E' except after 'C'" being a flawed classic. Laws, especially when applied to those who make them, are diseased with exceptions and I am sure any game ever invented has a few thrown in for good measure (except perhaps connect four). Although exceptions make the world a more interesting and intriguing place they are also a major annoyance. For example: explaining a relatively simple concept to someone and, just when you think they've finally understood it, having to say "however there is an exception...". The whisky world is rife with exceptions. Quite often through my work I have to teach people the ins and outs of whisky. To keep it simple I work around the whisky regions of Scotland but of course every region has its exceptions. Islay has Bunnahabhain, the Islands have Arran, and Speyside has BenRiach. I usually skip over exceptions to keep things simple however it also means I forget about them. So recently I thought I'd pay more attention to these anomalies. The distillery I chose to explore was BenRiach, the peated Speyside. It was a distillery that I was dubious of, partly because I hadn't heard much about it but also because I had my doubts that Speyside could match the peaty passion of Islay - having previously tried the Benromach Peat Smoke I should have known better...

BenRiach Arumaticus Fumosus
46% - 12 Year Old - Dark Rum Finish
Nose: This whisky is meaty; smoke infusing itself in a hog roast lathered with sweet barbecue sauce.
Palate: Reminds me of punch, a rum kick from the cask finish with barley sweet flavours and some peat to boot.
Finish: Heathery and floral at first but then spicy and smoky with coffee following.
Overall: Arumaticus Fumosus is apparently Latin for 'smoky rum', for all that rum that was drunk in Roman times. That aside, I was impressed with this dram. It had layers of flavour that complimented its peating. BenRiach do a lot of different finishes so I couldn't say if this was comparatively under par or high quality, but it has intrigued me to find out. It is an exception to the rule I can live with, and I am curious to try more!

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