Benriach is a distillery firmly on the up after an unusual and occasionally difficult past. The distillery was built just a stone’s-throw from Longmorn by the latter’s owner John Duff in 1898. Intriguingly, BenRiach’s revamped range of peated single malts shows the distillery going back to its nineteenth-century roots to give its twenty-first century customers a truly unique and authentic taste experience. Today, The BenRiach introduces four new expressions to the U.S. market: The BenRiach Horizons 12 Year Old Triple Distilled, The BenRiach Solstice 2nd Edition 17 Year Old, The BenRiach Septendecim 17 Year Old Peated Single Malt, and The BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt.
The BenRiach Horizons 12 Year Old Triple Distilled is one of the most unique whiskies to be released by The BenRiach Distillery Company. Traditionally most single malt Scotch whiskies are distilled twice, however during the late ‘90s BenRiach experimented with some limited production runs of Triple Distilled whisky, so they allowed the whisky to mature for a minimum of 12 years before giving us the opportunity to the sample the fruits of their labour.
The BenRiach Solstice 2nd Edition 17 Year Old is an excellent 17 year old BenRiach, from their peated “Solstice” range. This is the second release, replacing the previous 15 year old version, and finished in a port pipe. This peated, port-finished malt from Benriach is an absolute home run. It’s got rich, dark-fruited flavor and blast of campfire smoke on the finish. It’s straight-up challenge to Lagavulin 16 in style, with both the richness and the peat – and it’s better executed.
The BenRiach Septendecim 17 Year Old Peated Single Malt was only launched in January, and already it has acquired a reputation for being a magnificent, moody, multi-layered malt with fantastic length. On the palate, it gives sweet concentrated peat flavours which dominate from the start. Bold and intense, the peaty heart is united with honey-infused raisins, roasted nuts and a luxurious leather impression. Overall, it’s a real robust heavyweight, full-bodied and beautifully balanced with enormous impact. Septendecim is non chill-filtered and bottled at natural colour, with a strength of 46% vol.
The BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt is the follow-up to the much-vaunted Authenticus 21yo and is claimed by the producers to show herb, honey and tropical fruit flavours alongside the smoke. At 46%, it’s bright, warm and amber gold in colour. On the nose it offers elegant aromas of ripe pineapple, fresh mountain herbs and a profusion of sweet peat. On the palate, it’s a fantastic fusion of rich peat and smouldering embers bound together by fresh herbs – oregano, aniseed and chicory in particular. Overall, it carries terrific weight and development which leaves a powerful lasting impression long after the glass has been drained.