Benriach was taken over in 2004 by a consortium including veteran of the industry Billy Walker, and from that moment they have been working towards releasing a 10-year-old whisky with the majority of the spirit produced themselves. Under the tutelage of Walker, Benriach’s whiskies are better than ever, and the new 10 Year Old, along with a sherry-casked 12 Year Old, will become the backbone of the distillery’s output.
Nose: Nutty, rich, damp earth. Almonds and hazelnuts, with appealing green-apple freshness aromas of lemon and grapefruit, lifted by cinnamon, nutmeg and toffee. Lovely and fresh.
Palate: Floral and spicy, with clean, bright fruit: green apples, pears, honeysuckle. There’s some spiciness in there, too – a little black pepper, a hint of clove and a touch of crème brûlée.
Finish: The spiciness hangs on, but the overriding character is fresh, clean fruit. Refreshing and lip-smacking.
Comment: For me, this is classic Speyside, with its gentle character and refreshing fruit. Well balanced and very well made.
Nose: Baked apples, rich toasted spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), orange blossom, green apples and some sweet citrus – lemon curd, perhaps. Lovely balance; nothing dominates.
Palate: The sweet, sticky Pedro Ximénez sherry cask makes its presence felt here, with lovely rich and ripe raisins and sultanas taking charge, along with notes of honey, Christmas-cake spices and fresh fig.
Finish: The sweet, rich fruit lingers and invites you to take another sip. Very moreish.
Comment: What impresses about this bottling is the precision and class on show. The rich fruit and spice never feels overblown, too, which is another plus. Very impressive.
Both whiskies are available now from The Whisky Exchange website, and are well worth a try.