The series of exploring oaks effect on single malt whisky continues with the BenRiach Pedro Ximinez. This month, is an extremely rare and interesting whisky. Only 3,060 bottles were made from whisky aged in barrels that were previously used to age Pedro Ximinez.
Who the hell is Pedro? Pedro Ximinez (known as ‘PX’) is a grape variety grown in the southern regions of Spain. When it is harvested it is partially dried in the sun, like a raisin. These semi dried grapes are fermented to make a wine, which is blended with brandy to make a fortified wine. The characteristic of the wine are are rich chocolate and intense raisins. It is a beautiful and delicious wine, well worth trying as a digestif if you ever have the opportunity.
The effect on whisky being aged in these barrels? Aging whisky in barrels does two things. Firstly it takes out unpleasant flavour compounds, making the whisky cleaner. Secondly, the oak adds flavour by giving up the caramelised flavour compounds created when the oak is toasted, and adds the flavour to the whisky from the previously aged liquor. In this case PX. The big fruity flavours of the PX shine through in the BenRiach Pedro Ximinez resulting in a huge Christmas pudding of a whisky.
So how does the BenRiach Pedro Ximinez taste? It had a golden colour, and a nose rich with honey, sultanas and dark chocolate. The flavours of cream and honey, infused with papaya, rosehips, eucalyptus and dark chocolate, all interwoven with rich Pedro Ximinez Sherry and oak wood. The spirit finishes with a lingering richness, inviting another taste. Just one more?