There are a few iconic distilleries situated in the Speyside area of Scotland and the BenRiach distillery is right up there at the top of the pile in my mind, built back in 1898, the distillery has certainly had a chequered past with a lengthy closure in the early parts of the 1900’s until 1965 where only the floor maltings were still in operation.
The malting floor was used by neighbouring distillery Longmorn during this period of closure which probably helped save the distillery and today the malting floor is still operational and supplies a small amount of the malted barley used today, as well as keeping some of the old traditions going..
After changing hands several times in its history the distillery is now under the watchful eye of Brown-Foreman and master Blender Rachel Barrie..
Luckily the takeover from the American giant has seen little disruption to the quality outturn we are used to from the 3 distilleries after it’s takeover ( BenRiach, Glendronach and Glenglassaugh) and continues to release the much anticipated batch releases of single casks that many whisky fans drool over each year..
Todays review is is the recently re-released 12yo Sherry wood expression, initially matured in Sherry oak before receiving a finishing period in both Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks.
Bottled at 46% abv with natural colour and NCF and is already boasting a gold medal from the SAN Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018.
Nose.. Initially dried fruits like dates, raisins are evident then a subtle plum note with some dark chocolate, almonds and spices come through, burnt molasses, leather and a subtle sulphur note in the background.
Palate.. Dried fruits, orange marmalade, chocolate and cinnamon buns lead into Manuka honey, fresh ginger, cherries and Black Forest gateau.
Finish.. Spicy and dry.
Thoughts.. Another fine example of Benriach although I was expecting / hoping it would be a little more heavily sherried to be honest.
With that said though this is a real easy sipper and should easily find its way into many a whisky fans cupboard. The 46% abv certainly helps this give that fuller feel and the combination of both the Px and Oloroso certainly works well with the Px giving a nice sweetness while the Oloroso certainly kicks in on the finish.
This Benriach 12 yo sherry wood will sit in the core range from now on giving the distillery a 3 way core range – unpeated, peatedand tripple Distilled whisky That will hopefully showcase the distilleries diversity.