This BenRiach, the 13 year old Madeira Finish, also known as “Maderensis Fumosus” (smoky Madeira in Latin), was my favorite in Speyside blind tasting within our local whisky community here in Finland. In overall scoring it came second just behind GlenDronach 21YO Parliament. I did manage to guess the distillery and age, but then again, distillery guessing isn’t hard when the region is Speyside and there’s smoke involved.
Matured in American oak for 12 years, then finished for a year in Madeira wine barrels (used in the making of Henriques and Henriques wine). This is the 4th expression by BenRiach of this kind where they’ve used peated ex-bourbon matured base whisky and finished it, previously in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks, aged Tawny Port casks or Jamaican Dark Rum casks. The first batch of Maderensis Fumosus was limited to 2400 bottles.
I’ve really started to love BenRiach distillery – the chameleon of whisky producing. I haven’t stepped into any mediocre or even okay drams by them. Everything has been good or great. They surely know how to make peated whisky, that is versatile, yet without losing its smokiness. And they seem to have their own signature way in making smoky whisky, which is a refreshing addition to the stuff from Islay. BenRiach 13YO Maderensis Fumosus is pretty steady with smoke – the smoke doesn’t run out but it gives room for other scents and flavors as well. Dark, yet sweet, with nice steady smoky aromas. Another characteristic whisky by the versatile distillery in Speyside. I’m gonna call this one the Dark Angel.