Benriach 12, bottled 2020, 46% – The Smoky Twelve

I guess that settled whether I should write ‘smoky’ or ‘smokey’…

Anyway, this BenRiach is one of the revamped editions from recent years, after Brown-Forman took over. A mix of casks was used, with Bourbon, Sherry and Marsala casks all being in the mix.

Image from Whiskybase

I like that there’s disclosure on that, and that it’s bottled at 46%. Some years ago I went through a bottle of the 10 year old Curiositas, which was the then-modern smoky single malt from the distillery. Currently there are ‘smoky ten’ and ‘smoky twelve’ releases available, although there might be more. With the breadth of what BenRiach (or is it Benriach again?) has available, I can’t even be bothered to check.

Let’s just dive in.

There’s clearly some peat involved here, the Highland kind. There’s notes of heather and wood smoke, pine wood and a bit of a scorchy scent too. Pine cones, resin, heather, some bacon even.

The palate is dry and rather light, with quite a lot of wood and smoke. Wood smoke, heather, pine, resin, cocoa nibs, orange and dried apple.

The finish is very consistent with the palate with notes of dried apple, oak and heather. Quite a lot of smoke and a sudden nuttiness that I didn’t pick up before.

About five or six years ago I was rather impressed with the Curiositas. I might be even more impressed with this one. On the interwebs it’s score is just below 85, on average, but to me this is what a great single malt should offer. There’s a lot of things to be discovered, it’s well made with a thoughful cask selection process to highlight the spirit. The smoke is definitely there, but not overpowering.

In short, I’m very impressed and I absolutely love this. As in, there’s a bottle waiting for me to be picked up, after buying a sample of it in a tasting set from De Whiskykoning.



About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in BenRiach and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s