Benriach 10 Years Old 1990’s / Seagrams

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

43% ABV, ~ £54 for 70cl

Score: 85/100

BenRiach10yo1990s

What they say:

Official 10 Years Old bottling from Benriach distillery whilst under Seagrams ownership.

Only a handful of Scottish distilleries still make their own malt. One of them is Benriach. The maltings stand beside the distillery and twice a week the prize barley is delivered to be steeped, spread and raked until it begins to sprout. Gentle heat then works its magic, and the raw grain has become the essential ingredient of a Scotch malt whisky. The people at Benriach are proud of their maltings and their fine whisky too.

What I say:

An impulse/auction purchase, I couldn’t find out a lot about this bottling other than that is was likely produced sometime between 1994 and 2000 during the time that Benriach was owned by Seagrams after their purchase from The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. This was the first official bottling out of the Benriach distillery and was produced as a 10 Years Old at 43% ABV using barley malted at their own floor maltings.

Colour:

Refractive 14ct Gold (9/20), slow thick droplet tears leaving medium trails

Nose:

Fragrant, slightly fruity, wood varnish and nail polish (acetone) initially but settles into a nice fruity apple, peach, pear and vanilla compote, there is plenty of honey in here too and some caramel and butterscotch notes eluding to oak wood and brown sugar/bourbon influence, a little cinnamon and cereal barley gristy and malty.

Taste:

Mild, creamy and zesty, lots of thick syrupy vanilla essence but with lashings of lemon, lime and grapefruit pith, zest and cream, with time a cereal biscuit emerges, lemon puffs and malted milk biscuits, a touch of orange oil and peel too.

Finish:

Medium-long zesty oranges and cereal, gristy and malty with a faint hint of earthy peat smoke and a little dark chocolate

Overall:

Rather pleasant and quite complex. Perhaps their were batch variations in this little released 10 Years Old expression due to the inconsistency of floor malting? Previous elusive reports suggest that this malt wasn’t much to write home about? Whatever the case this bottle is delicious, a heavy gristy and malty character pervades and a little smoke is faintly present in the finish adds to the authenticity of ‘hand-made’ whisky. On this are layers for sweet honey, fruit and a good dose of ex-bourbon cask ageing that marries the expression together.