By Richard Thomas
One of the things I like about BenRiach is their habit of giving their single malts Latin names (such as Importanticus Fumosus). As a major fan of ancient history, I love Latin names and phrases, so much so that one of my dogs is named “Livia.” So giving an aged, peaty single malt a name like Authenticus automatically attracts my interest.
BenRiach’s Authenticus 25 Year Old has been available in the UK for quite a while, but until recently Americans who wanted the scotch had to order it from UK vendors and pay pricey shipping rates. Earlier this month, Authenticus was one of four BenRiach scotches that were brought over to the United States, so American scotch-drinkers should look out: this quarter-century old, very peaty Speyside single malt might just occupy some shelf space at your local premium liquor store.
Like so much of what BenRiach does, Authenticus 25 year old was bottled with no chill filtering, in its natural color, and at an abv of 26%. The bottle is the standard clear glass job used by BenRiach, which is a very good thing in this case, because it shows off the brilliant coloring.
In the glass, that color comes across as a coppery middle amber, brighter and more polished than what one sees in bourbon. My thinking is that the appearance is comparable to some of the brighter ryes, but in any case it is far darker than the standard scotch pale gold look.
The nose has a delightfully oily texture, with a scent lying in a place where creosote and peat mingles with verbena, thyme, and rosemary. The scent is very well-balanced, and the sort of thing you’ll want to nose over and over again.
That concept of herbal goodness and buttery smoke carries into the flavor, and the herbal side grows in complexity. Aniseed, spicy basil, chicory, and a pinch of pepper mix with citrus oil sweetness and thick, low-hanging smoke. It’s fully bodied and absolutely scrumptious stuff.
The herbal character is what lingers in the finish, with the warmth creeping up and building on you. After several seconds, one is left with a pleasant glow, right in the core of the body.
BenRiach’s Authenticus 25 Year Old is simply beautiful. The scotch has good body, but without being bold. It has a degree of complexity, but without making the drinker chase after it’s elements. Above all, Authenticus is delicious. This is the sort of scotch you’ll consciously savor, enjoying ever stage from sniff to afterglow with each sip.
The sole unpleasant part of BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old is the recommended retail price: $249.99. In the UK, expect to pay a similar £135.