BenRiach 16 Year

BenRiach 16The BenRiach distillery has been through some rough times since it’s founding in 1898. Unfortunately, it has been susceptible to the booms and busts of the industry over the past century and more, closing a number of times in lean years but always coming back. Even when whisky production was halted, however, some aspect of the place still functioned, even if only to product floor maltings sold to other distilleries. It has been owned by Glenlivet, Seagrams, and the BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd. before being sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation in 2016. Starting in the 60s, the distillery has expanded and evolved with each transition and each challenge. For most of its history, it was used as a component in blends and was not released as a BenRiach malt until 1994. Along with this BenRiach 16, the core line is comprised of 10 and 20 year offerings, along with a ranges featuring peat, wood finishes, and premium expressions.

Distillery: BenRiach
Region: Speyside
Age: 16 years
Strength: 46%
Price: $79.99
Location: Moray
Maturation: Ex-sherry cask
Nose: Sugar cookies, brine, shortbread, sadly melted ice cream,
Palate: Sherry, butter, salt caramel, cherry
Finish: Pepper, clove, allspice

Comments: Thanks to Malted in Montreal for suggesting we pick this one up, and for the Live Review!

Adam – I’m not sure if the flavors in the BenRiach 16 are competing or complimentary, but they are ones I’m not sure I would have picked to go together. Against all odds, they do seem to exist in some kind of harmony. However, I’ve found this one a little fickle, for it seems I get new impressions every time I drink it. Sometimes a moment or the weather really can make a difference. Ideally, though, the sherry finish is a nice factor to a flavorful malt full of sweet and savory elements. The nose is maybe the most mismatched, with that slight whiff of brine mixed with baked goods, but the light fruit amidst the richness of the palate and then capped off with a little flourish of spice in the finish makes this scotch a journey, and a recommended one at that.

Meghan – Same fruitiness you’d get in a bright red wine. It smells like crayons or wax fruit. I was the only one to get this type of smell, but every time I pick it up the waxy smell is there. I get some fruit and spice behind it, but the wax smell puts me off. The palate is a bit oily with some soft fruits. I get a touch of brine around the edges but the oily fruit overpowers it. There is some smoke on the finish but it is accompanied by a sour twinge, like I get with some sherry finishes. The cinnamon and clove aspects are nice but overall, this just is not one of my favorites. It leaves an unpleasant residue in my mouth. Honestly, I think it might be what it would taste like if you accidentally bit into a fruit shaped and scented candle thinking it was a real piece of fruit. Waxy with some flavor but nothing very desirable and then, to make it worse, the taste lingers. I seem to be the cheese standing alone on my view of this whisky so it may just not be one that is compatible with my personal palate.

Michael – There is some relationship with the Cardhu but I like this one a lot more. There’s a buttery-ness. I like how it fills the mouth, the way I find when you get that quality in a scotch the flavor lingers. I liked the briny-ness. It has a savory baked good quality that I really liked. It’s a really cozy scotch.

Peter – If there is a choir of scotches (and why shouldn’t there be?), this one sings alto. I like the sweet lingering aspect of it.

Mary-Fred – There’s an element that flowers in the mouth. My first sip just bloomed in the mouth.