Update: this whisky has been discontinued.
Having heard mixed reviews of this whisky, which several of my dear friends decided to purchase around the same time at random, I thought I’d have to give it a go to settle the dispute. BenRiach is a speyside distillery, established around 1898 but closed soon thereafter to be reopened in 1965 by Glenlivet. Since then it has changed hand several times, from Glenlivet to Chivas to Pernod and finally purchased by an independent consortium in 2004 after having, once again, been postponed by Pernod in 2002.
The nose is quite powerful and offers lots of peat and a distinctive saltiness. It also reminds me of really hot summer days walking along a country road where the asphalt has gone all soft and releases that distinctive hot asphalt smell. If that’s a good or a bad thing I will leave up to you, personally I like it. The palate is rather medicinal, smoky and… well, medicinal - a bit too much so for my liking. It’s reminiscent of being a child and having your ever-loving mother force you to eat a spoonful of that disgusting cough syrup which is the bane of any sick child’s life. There’s also a bit of pepper and saltiness there and perhaps a touch of oak.
Overall a bit of a “meh” experience and not something I will buy a bottle of. At around $38-46 a bottle I actually think it’s too expensive as well, you can get a much nicer whisky for $31 –giving you a fiver to spend on some lovely, freshly ground coffee. So that’s settled. I sort of wish I could’ve said that it was really good, though, as I like seeing “independently” owned distilleries. Perhaps one of their other expressions is better – I will try to get my hands on one in the future.
Color: Shimmering white wine.
Nose: Powerful, peat, saltiness, warm, soft, asphalt.
Taste: Medicinal, smoky, peaty, peppery and salty.