BenRiach 12, “Arumaticus Fumosus”

Arumaticus FumosusI mentioned the silly Latin names of BenRiach’s peated whiskies in my review of the Curiositas yesterday. Well, as silly names go, Arumaticus Fumosous is hard to top (at least, so I thought till I remembered the name of their peated port finish in this series: the Importanticus Fumosus). This is a 12 yo finished in Jamaican dark rum barrels. I’m not sure if this is the Curiositas + 2 years in rum casks or some other formulation. I do hope I’ll like it better. Let’s get right to it.

BenRiach 12, “Arumaticus Fumosus” (46%; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: The same dry, farmy peat as in the Curiositas (and the other peated BenRiachs I’ve tried) but the rougher edges are sawed off. I’m not sure if this is the doing of the rum casks–the rum certainly is not obviously in evidence at first. There is more vanilla along with some lime and kiwi, maybe a hint of ripe banana. The fruit recedes as it sits and the smoke gets more organic: leafy, mossy. With more time there’s a mellow sweetness under the smoke and citrus. With even more time there’s a briny, coastal note. More organic again with water.

Palate: A little blank at first but then the lime hits, gets quite acidic and leads into the smoke, which is sharp and less farmy than on the nose. Again, not much evidence of the rum finish here. With more time the lime is less acidic and balanced nicely with the smoke and simple sweetness. Water doesn’t bring out new flavours as such, but there’s more depth to the sweetness and the smoke now.

Finish: Long. Gets quite salty at first and then the lime returns and leads into a sweeter note (simple syrup). Salty again at the very end. Dry smoke throughout. Much sweeter with water.

Comments: If I didn’t know this was finished in rum casks I don’t think there’s any way I would have guessed it. The rum casks don’t seem to have added anything (other than probably the sweetness); maybe they took stuff out, because this doesn’t seem as acrid as the Curiositas. I certainly like it better but I don’t need a bottle of this either. Again, it’s not bad at all: indeed, it’s a pleasant, easy-drinking malt. I think I liked this one better on the palate with water.

Rating: 84 points.

Thanks to Jordan D. for the sample!

4 thoughts on “BenRiach 12, “Arumaticus Fumosus”

  1. Have you tried high-ester Jamaican rums before? It took a while for me to find rum esters, since they hide in the peat, but the cask influence was a lot more clear once I made that connection.

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    • Nope. My rum experience is largely limited to Indian dark rums (some of which are pretty good). An obsession with one spirit category is financially crippling enough–I can’t afford to broaden my horizons.

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      • There is the upside that rum tends to be a lot cheaper. If you want to get one and only one, I’d suggest Smith & Cross. It’s ~$30 and could comfortably be described as an ‘the Octomore of rum’, but with esters instead of peat.

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