Nose: Peat. Wet, mossy, earthy peat. No salt or brine. Instead this demonstrates a Speyside character. Lovely honey, rich apples, gentle caramel, cinnamon, and some malt.
Palate: Certainly peat in the foreground, but there’s also light honey, sour raisins, charcoal, nuts, figs, dried fruit, oak, and apples. A very gentle spice carries us into the finish.
Finish: The earthy peat notes carry on. Oak is here, as is the gentle honey and some malt. More nuts. There’s something oddly sour here. Like sour raisins, or sour apples. Sour but fruity. Granny smith apples I suppose describes it best. Medium-length finish.
Thoughts: Like other older releases from Benriach, this dram is surprisingly fresh and youthful. I like the peat and the nutty notes. Very wet, fresh, earthy, and gentle. For those of you who see ‘peated’ on the label and expect something Islay; don’t. This is smoother and fruitier, as you’d expect from a quality Speysider.
As good as it is, though, I do think the finish could be longer, and the palate and the nose aren’t really in sync. Also, a bit more intensity or kick might have helped this one stand out. Smooth and easy-going isn’t always what we’re looking for, is it? Still very solid.