Benriach 17 TWE Selection 1998/2015 Review

This is a 17 year triple distilled Benriach selected by The Whisky Exchange. It was finished in a PX Sherry puncheon and bottled at 48.9% ABV.

Nose: Watered down fruit punch, malty with a bit of a soapy note and some isopropyl in the background. Fairly bland on first impression with the PX sherry adding minimal fruit notes.

Palate: Quite soapy on the palate as well unfortunately – a bit of grass mixed among the malt notes. Little to no inidication of a sherry finish.

Finish: Soap lingers with a drying oak.

Rating: 73/100 – Disappointed in this one as the PX Sherry finish seems more of a marketing tactic here as there is hardly any discernible impact on the malt. The soap note throughout was quite distracting.

Value for the money: This is still available at TWE for $104 (excluding shipping) – and I would not buy again at any price.

Benriach 29 – Batch #13 1986/2016 Cask #7569 Review

This is a 29 year peated Benriach that was finished in Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 51% ABV.

Nose: Very light and fruity with almond extract up front, berries, vanilla, wisps of smoke, wheat buns, raisins, and subtle peat.

Palate: Heavy honey up front with quark and berries – turns oak heavy after a bit with more sherry seasoned old oak, worn leather, and oddly enough some lucky charms marshmallows (that really weird artificial, yet delicious marshmallow taste).

Finish: Dry oak, turns slightly bitter and peppery.

Rating: 85/100 – A robust malt where the peat is incredibly subtle, yet adds some interesting balance with a nice Oloroso finish.

Value for the money: These retailed for a little over $200 which is a pretty decent price given its age/quality.

Benriach 18 – Batch #13 1998/2016 Cask #6401 Review

This is an 18 year Benriach released as part of their Batch 13 series of expressions. It was triple distilled and finished in a PX Sherry Puncheon. It’s bottled at 57.3% ABV.

Nose: Figs, dates, and cloves off the bat, but it takes a while to pull those out. The nose is very closed off and takes some digging to actually pull anything out of it. Minimal oak with a flint heavy sherry influence, but again, difficult to pull notes out of it.

Palate: Weird – even more closed off here. Not quite sure what’s going on, but it’s like the nose and palate are almost non-existent. Mostly dry oak with lots of heat and pepper.

Finish: Very dry oak and lots of heat, but no sherry left at all (or anything else for that matter).

Rating: 71/100 – A difficult one to score as you have to work hard to pull the notes out, but they’re there if you dig. Almost seems very heavily oxidized or something.

Value for the money: These retailed around $100 I believe, and I’d pass at that price (or most prices).

Benriach 34 (Batch 8 Cask #1034 PX Finish) Review

This is a 34 year Benriach expression that was distilled in 1977 and later finished in a PX cask before being bottled at 54.3% ABV.

Nose: The PX makes itself known off the bat alongside gunflint and mineral oils. Raisins emerge after a bit topped with brown sugar with some new leather appearing towards the end.

Palate: Punchy sherry up front with old oak cleverly masked in the background behind fresh grapes, apple peals, strawberry shortcake, and oddly enough a bit of hay.

Finish: Ripe strawberries with dark cocoa and a rich sherry continue as the oak dries out.

Rating: 93/100 – The PX sherry finish lends a reasonable amount of fruitiness, but more importantly it really helps overpower a lot of what I’d guess is old, bitter oak and thus strikes a great balance here.

Value for the money: I think these retailed around $350-$400, and I think that’s a bit steep, but not too far off. I’d probably pay up to $300 or so for a bottle.

Benriach 17 Solstice Review

This is a 17 year peated Benriach expression that’s bottled at 50% ABV.

Nose: Very leathery – peat, shoe polish, rotted oak, wet clay, and granny smith apples. Odd to have such a strong leather note in a malt as opposed to bourbon.

Palate: Peat and smoke, leather, old oak, plenty of vegetal notes

Finish: Old smoke with bitter oak – short and dry overall

Rating: 77/100 – Bland overall – similar to Balvenie 17 Peated for me.

Value for the money: These retail around $85+ but I wouldn’t pay more than $40-$45.