The second entry in our Benriach Week series gets a bit smoky. The distillery produces both an unpeated and peated malt. Their core range consists of both unpeated and peated 10- and 12-year-old expressions. It’s a smart idea as it allows a much larger audience to enjoy their whisky and become familiar with the distillery’s flavor profile regardless of whether they enjoy peated whisky or not.
The Smoky Ten
Bottled at 46% abv, Benriach “The Smoky Ten” is comprised of peated whiskies aged at least 10 years in bourbon, rum, and virgin oak casks. A triple cask maturation for added flavor… and to keep things interesting. The nose features hints of toffee, earthy peat, a light touch of ripe orchard fruits, and some oak spice. Flavor-wise, an underlying sweet smokiness highlights the fruity notes so tied to the distillery’s flavor profile. A added touch of spice and orange blossom honey round out the palate. The finish is soft in nature and continues to carry over that sweet and slightly smoky characteristic.
There’s lots to enjoy with this 10-year-old whisky. The use of peated malt adds so much character compared to its unpeated brethren, which were nice enough to begin with. For the $59.99 asking price, Benriach “The Smoky Ten” comes recommended.
The Smoky Twelve
Benriach’s “The Smoky Twelve” also sees a triple cask maturation. This time, the whisky is matured in bourbon, sherry, and Marsala casks. It’s pretty evident on the nose this is a different beast altogether. On the nose, the peat is toned down a bit, leaving room for dark fruits to shine. Hints of spice, burnt orange peel, and tobacco leaf round out the nose. Taste-wise, an initial blast of fruity chewing gum quickly develops into more complex baked orchard fruit. Nutty toffee makes an appearance soon afterwards, as a soft bed of smoky acts as a foundation. A little spice brings us to the medium-long finish. There’s some lingering fruit sweetness, acidity, spice, and smoke. I’d call that complex.
“The Smoky Twelve” is also bottled at 46% abv, but drinks a bit lower than that. It’s a very enjoyable yet complex malt that delivers big on smoke-tinged fruit notes. My favorite of the core range. Highly recommended! $64.99
Thanks to Benriach for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.