Provenance: Speyside (Scozia)
Typology: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: Brown Forman
Average price: € 44.00
Official website: www.benriachdistillery.com
Founded by John Duff in 1898, BenRiach is located close to Longmorn, at that time also owned by Duff, with the two distilleries joined by a private railway.
The crisis ofthe industry in the early 1900s led to the interruption of active whisky production, with BenRiach being used only for the malting of Longmorn, until Glenlivet reopened it in 1965. During this period, the exploration of peated whiskies began, which was highly atypical for Speyside.
Some ten years later, hands were passed to Seagrams, with whom the whisky experimentation continued, with the triple distillation of part of the production, until at the beginning of the 2000s BenRiach became part of Pernod Ricard, remaining in operation just three months a year.
The arrival of Billy Walker as owner in 2004 breathed new life into the distillery, which also resumed barley malting on site, until the transition to the current owners in 2016 with Rachel Barrie as the new Master Distiller for BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh.
In 2020 the distillery entirely revamped its portfolio.
A rather rich base portfolio, with several NAS including peated and unpeated, plus declared ageings from 12 to 30 years, which in the new labelling have lost their nicknames like the one assigned to this 10 years, a heavily peated whisky that is really a “curiosity” for a speysider.
Light gold in the glass.
Despite the high level of peat (55ppm), the nose is quite gentle, with herbaceous and floral tones combined with yellow fruit (apple, peach, pineapple), honey, orange juice, lemon, light vanilla. The smoke is just a hint in the background, very faint. Delicate.
The peat rears its head on the palate, though always remaining very composed and polite, a salty roast on which the ginger gloats, accompanied by fruit (more full than on the nose), vanilla, custard, hazelnuts, cereal biscuits, cinnamon. Over time, the smoke becomes more compact and defined (Caribbean cigar), incorporating the flavours without overpowering them, but taking up ample space. Overall, oily and dry, very savoury.
Medium-long finish of ash, vanilla, spices, salt.
Peat and the delicate soul of Speyside struggle to integrate but find their balance, albeit precariously, without particularly shining.