In a nutshell: A luxuriously rich and rewarding, peated Speyside single malt finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks.
The lowdown: Originally matured in American oak casks, the whisky is then finished in ex-Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. Also known in short form as PX, this is the darkest, very sweetest, most opulent, deeply flavoured and complex of all the sherries. It is these characteristics that provide the perfect counterpoint to the savoury notes of the peatsmoke, softening, rounding and complementing the flavours. The whisky has been named after Albaraiza, a white chalky marl soil common in Andalusia, where it is widely regarded as being the most suitable soil for the growing and ripening of the grapes used for Sherry production. Bottled at natural colour, with the ex-PX barrels imparting an attractive deep mahogany hue, it comes in at 46% ABV and is non-chill filtered. Tasting notes courtesy of BenRiach: On the nose, warm, honeyed peat smoke holds gentle touches of garden mint infused through sweet dates and chocolate fondant. On the palate a crisp sherried sweeteness combines dark chocolate, Victoria plums and rum-soaked raisins, all surrounded by an earthy, campfire smoke.
Founded at the end of the nineteenth century this Speyside distillery is a little to the south of Elgin, Morayshire.
Throughout its early life it had a somewhat chequered history before, under new ownership, the 1960s saw something of a resurgence. Following further changes of ownership it was mothballed by Seagrams prior to being purchased by a South African company Infra Trading in 2004.
It's since this time Benriach has built the reputation that has earned it high regard among many aficionados and while it has again undergone a further change of ownership - this time for a considerable amount of money - to the American Brown-Forman group of Louisville Kentucky it's prospects continue to look very healthy.
It's one of only two Speyside distilleries to have their own maltings.