By Richard Thomas
The operating theme for The Lost Distillery Company is to create vatted malts that simulate the single malts produced by a now defunct distillery, and Scotland has dozens of them. In this instance, Jericho Distillery, also known as Benachie. This was founded as an Aberdeenshire farm-distillery in 1824. The name changed to Benachie in the late 19th Century with new ownership, and the production capacity was doubled at that time.
The Benachie Distillery, like so many others, fell into dire straits after the Pattinson whisky bust of 1898. Eventually the distillery was abandoned in favor of focusing on the farm in 1913.
The color is a deep, dull amber, moody and dark. The liquid puts a nice coat on the glass, which unfolds its legs more than drops them.
The nose on Jericho is rich with wine grape, citrus zest and a whiff of grain. On the tongue, the liquid has a surprisingly thin texture initially, but as it sits in the mouth it leaves an oily (albeit a thin and oily) coat on the mouth. Likewise, the flavor takes a turn into lighter territory, but that is not to say it’s thin. A subtle sweetness is very nicely rounded out by a note of coconut, a tiny pinch of pepper and a certain nutty, almost mushroom-like flavor that comes up on the back. The finish turns again, and while short it is distinct in that it turns to cocoa.
If this is what Jericho/Benachie was about, they were quite the oddballs. The whisky makes for an interesting sipper, because every stage of the experience zigs and zags into a different direction.
Expect to pay between $55 and $60 for a bottle of this vatted malt, despite the recommended price being $43.