I have not tried many Benriachs. In fact I have only tried one which was the 12 year old that I reviewed on the Flavour Chase. I mentioned in that review how I found their range confusing and a bit all over the place with so many different finishes, non age statements and age statements. This is what has put me off really. I can see no logical progression through their range so am not sure how I am meant to really understand what Benriach is all about. To many casual drinkers this doesn’t matter at all I guess, if a bottle tastes good then that’s it. But if you are like me and want to know a bit more and are constantly looking for value for money then I think it matters. Things are a bit more clearer on their website and it appears that their range is as follows. There is the entry level NAS called the Heart of Speyside, 1o year old, this 12 year old sherry wood then the 21, 25 and 35 year old. The reason I have come back to Benriach in this case is because I was on the lookout for a heavily influenced sherry malt at a reasonable price. The Benriach 12 Year Old Sherry Wood 12 year old was what I found.
Whisky: Benriach Sherry Wood 12 Year Old Scotch Single Malt, 46%
Nose: Malty, chocolate, stewed berries, boiled sweets, strawberry jam, shortbread, heather
Taste: Marmalade, honey, ginger spice, stewed fruit, red wine, chocolate, earth
Finish: Chocolate, malt and ginger
Summary: This does what it says on the label. A solid sherried malt with the typical flavours you would expect. At first this is very concentrated so I had to add a drop of water and let it breath. Lots of rich dark fruits and chocolate with a savoury note which I can only describe as earthiness. There is something a bit Benrinnes about this. The spiciness begins to kick in a bit more over time I found but other than that there was not much else developing out of it. At £45 I would say this is at the high end of what I would pay but it does give you that sherry fix if you are after one and it is bottled at 46% so I wouldn’t complain too much about the price. A good winter warmer this.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com