Review Stub: BenRiach 12

This is review #2 from my BenRiach distillery collection taster pack (HoS, 12, 16, 20). I’m fortunate to have a sample of the 12yo and 16yo that are at 43%, instead of the 40% I’ve seen other reviews based on. Maybe that’s what makes the difference.

Nose: Similar Jolly Rancher nose to the HoS, but green apple this time. The nose isn’t as open, but what comes at you, comes across as thick, almost buttery. In that way, it’s much like a Mortlach. It’s quite sweet, though, and in that way, it isn’t so much like a Mortlach. Barley and bread baking. A number of fruits I can’t figure out.

Palate: Medium oily, savoury and bitter with an indiscernable spice mix. Heavy on the olive oil on some type of french or italian bread. Very malty. Slightly fruity.

Finish: Short to Medium, mostly floral and fruity, and also nice and warming, a plus for a 43% ABV whisky. That said, BenRiach needs to work on this part.

Grade: B-

Compared to the Heart of Speyside, I found this one a little thicker, more mature (as it should be) but the HoS had a liveliness to it that this malt doesn’t have. It’s also a tad sharp on the palate. I hope this is not the case with the 16yo.

Review Stub: BenRiach Heart of Speyside

This is part of my 5cl BenRiach distillery collection (HoS, 12, 16, 20) that I will be reviewing throughout May and June.

BenRiach seems to be fond of their slogan, “The heart of Speyside”.  I don’t know Speyside enough to confirm such a claim, but I can surely say, it’s a pretty good, easy drinking 40% whisky.

Nose: Pear jolly rancher, honey, oak and hay. Savoury spice package with cloves. Makes it kind of meaty. Like clove-spiced mince.

Palate:  Medium oily. Sweet canned pears in syrup. Sweet white wine, like a Riesling or gewurztraminer. Honey and cloves. Coffee chocolates.

Finish: Short. Mostly pear jolly rancher, white wine and malt.

Grade: C+

If this is indicative of what the rest of the BenRiach collection is going to be like, then the 12 should embarass the similar offerings by Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. I have read unfavourable reviews for the 12yo, but they were all at 40%, whereas this new batch is at 43%. With hope, that’s the winning formula.

Laphroaig 10yo

I recently had two drams of this at a pub in England while I celebrated my birthday. In the Laphroaig 10 vs. QC debate, I’m QC all the way. Incidentally, my birthday whisky post marks review #50. These reviews are really starting to pile up!

Nose: Fresh rubber. Like a tire. This note is the overarching experience. There is that smoky, peaty, iodine-soaked beauty to the rubber, but it’s mostly rubber. Not unpleasant, though!

Palate: This is where the smoke, peat and medicinal notes come in full-force. There is a very faint rubber taste in the background, but it only serves as a complimentary note.

Finish: Medium at best, unlike its peat monster QC brethren.

Grade: B

This one is not as multidimensional as the QC, at least not to me. It’s good, boy is it good, but it’s just not that good. Given that the QC is cheaper in Toronto, I’d definitely take it every time over this.

Update: I have since been gifted a bottle, and the review still stands. A tasty daily dram, but the QC is still my favourite.