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Benriach 12 Year Old Sherry Wood

Average score from 6 reviews and 7 ratings 84

Benriach 12 Year Old Sherry Wood

Product details

  • Brand: BenRiach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Benriach 12 Year Old Sherry Wood

This whisky's a "darkie." Is that racist to say? Ah well, I'm standing by my initial observation of its swarthy Moorish complexion (as in Othello). Nose: grotty and festering just the way I likes it. Old lodge pine wood, tarry shingle in summer heat, hot dry red dirt clay, muddy football cleats, smoky leather, distant sherry knell, ringing of that bell, do tell? Mouth: Very bourbonesque and this surprises. Could pass for a bourbon. Very cherry and hairy dimpled raspberry; sugar sweet, unctuous, servile platitudes, vanilla soda. What happened to the promising complexity of the nose? Finish: maraschino cherries, vanilla ice cream, camphor oil, nice quality bourbon, a bit thin in terms of the mouth feel but not astringent. Bourbon drinkers might like this one, but I am disappointed. In all fairness, it is a bit flat due to a dried out cork that sucked air for a week or so. Gotta love 110 degree heat at the 45th parallel of North America--not!


This one’s popular here in Taiwan. It’s a 12 year old Benriach that’s been finished in both Oloroso and PX casks. The Taiwanese love their sherried whiskies, so this certainly fits the bill. This was one of my favourite go-to malts during my first couple years as a whisky enthusiast. This, Highland Park 12, Bunnahabhain 12, and a series of other reasonably priced and accessible malts were my early benchmarks for quality. It’s interesting to go back to them once in a while. Sometimes we’re disappointed by the whiskies we once regarded so highly, and sometimes they’re just as good as we remember them. It’s the latter, in this case.

Nose: Rich, sweet sherry, quite soft and delicate. Gentle caramel, raisins, sweet cinnamon, red apple skin, maraschino cherries, nutmeg, demerera sugar, plum, oak.

Palate: Medium mouthfeel, with brown sugar and baking spices on arrival. Big sherry, maple syrup, milk, Sugar Crisp cereal, raisins.

Finish: Medium, with a beautiful sweetness. Caramel, charred oak, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, sweet cinnamon, apricot, sultanas, maraschino cherries, plum, cream.

Thoughts: Really nice. The sherry finish has integrated beautifully with the spirit. It's a dessert dram for sure. As someone who's rather sensitive to these sweeter drams, I can vouch for this one. Sweet but never cloying. The brown sugar note enjoys a nice balance with the wine and wood notes. Rather gentle, with a certain creaminess rarely found in sherried whiskies. Character-wise, I'm reminded of Glenmo's Sonnalta PX. And for a fraction of the price, who are we to complain? Loads of character here, and great bang for buck. Recommended.

That's bad luck, @hunggar, I've never tasted or had a poor (sulphury) batch - what year was that bottled? Year is on the bottom of the bottle, at the 'back'...

My daily dram along with Glendronach 12. Nice accurate review


In these times of high demand regarding quality whiskies, whether it be at high or low prices, it is very hard as an average whisky enthusiast to know where to spend your money. Luckily reviews are abundant, but batch variations and the sometimes confusing variation in reviews regarding a particular whisky can really make it complicated.

Should you buy this Benriach 12? If you like quality whiskies and you appreciate sherry finishes then the answer is YES. I can recommend this even to those of you who are deep in the sherry "rabbit hole" of old, well aged sherry monsters, as the quality in this steps it up and crucially it would be a refreshing experience coming from an older sherried malt to this one.

Nose: Wonderfull dynamic sherry, sweet with a balanced sourness. Winegums. Nutty, pecan and walnuts specifically. Cinammon on the tail.

Palate: A syrupy almost "gooey" sherry that makes you salivate. Nutty and almost buttery, this is dense high quality sherry, and it works so well with the malt. A bit of campfer and touch of salt. Dates and damp weeds (interesting) and menthol cake ala Glenfarclas 15.

Finish: The pungent sherry sweet&sour lingers with a bit of saltniess and a note of blood-oranges precedes the curtain call.

This is not the most complex sherry malt you will encounter by any stretch, but it has enough natural complexity to satisfy your demands as an enthusiast and if you need an uncomplicated young quality sherry finished tipple when you are in the mood. Then this is about as perfect as you can have it.

Nice Post LWF!

I had a Benriach at Spirits of Toronto a couple of weeks ago, and remember thinking it reminded me a bit of the Glendronach 15 yr Sherry Revival Cask, which I like quite a bit. Perhaps I am treading on the slippery slope of the sherry rabbit hole you speak of...

I unfortunately cannot remember which Benriach it was, but I do remember enjoying the taste. The event was fun, but a little chaotic...

Thanks BARutledge! The Glendronach 15 is pretty much the ultimate go-to sherry finished whisky right now, as far as scotch goes. If you find an affordable Benriach i suggest you get one, as the quality is peaking about now. Coincidentaly, it is Benriach that are owners of Glendronach distillery. Both distilleries are excellent choices though


Convergences. Gotta love 'em. In this case, great reviews, an attractive profile, and an astonishingly fair price from our local population-fleecing institution (the LCBO), converged to compel the purchase of this fine whisky. Without hyperbole, my favourite sherry matured whisky to date (or a close tie, at least, with Glenfarclas 17).

Nose: very rich and aromatic with cherries, jam, raisin, toffee, dark chocolate, and baking spices

Palate: sweet arrival with spices up front. More cherries, sherry, red fruits, and cocoa.

Finish: warming and lingering. Figs and red fruit with a prolonged spice (cinnamon). A nice balance of dry and spicy, and sweet and fruity.

A fantastic whisky, especially for the price (I think it was around $68 at the LCBO). So good, in fact, that I tracked down one of the last 5 bottles in Ontario for my brother (a fan of sherried whiskies).

I agree that this is a great dram. It was one of the first sherried whiskies that I fell in love with. A bit too sweet to be a favorite, but it's damn good stuff, especially for the price (roughly $40 CAN here in Taiwan). Sweet, rich, and complex. Wonderful after dinner/dessert dram. Thanks for the great review, I've been trying to spread the word myself about this under-appreciated whisky!

Thanks for the comment. I thought about spreading the word too, but this went fast in Ontario so, clearly, people figured out that it was quite decent for the price. I'm hoping that the LCBO will bring this one back (without arbitrarily jacking up the price that is...).


I bought this bottle for a very reasonable price at a local retailer here in Taiwan. The salesman at the store seemed to endorse it (in an honest way). I had tried the traditional 12 yr old Benriach and I had thought it was quite good, but not great. He assured me this was a very different dram. I was interested by the combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. I had no idea at that time that I was about to discover an absolutely lovely whisky that would become a mainstay in my cabinet.

Right away we get a hit of spice with the nose. Sultanas, pepper, and nutmeg. Then the sherry scent starts to show itself. I get some dark cherries, dried banana, figs, and burnt vanilla.

The arrival is even spicier. As it hits the front of your mouth you notice it's soft creamy texture. As soon as it reaches the back of your tongue it's a quick and strong spice attack. For some reason I'm reminded of Caribbean jerk spice here, but that may just be me. Peppery. The spiciness doesn't linger, but rather smoothly transitions into the sherry flavours, with figs, cherries, and caramel rounding it out. The finish is quite creamy. The flavours linger but become light and almost milky as they dissipate.

I tend to enjoy sherried whiskies above all else, but I also enjoy creaminess. This one is a particularly enjoyable and unique dram as it has married both of these qualities beautifully. There's spice, there's sherried complexity, and there's a finish that's as smooth as ice cream. It's not for everyone. The spices may be a bit much for some. Also, it's not a full on sherry bomb, nor is it a "light" creamy whisky. It's somewhere in between, without loosing its Speyside identity. Certainly interesting and one I'll definitely be buying again. If you can find it. You may not love it, but you won't be bored.

Thanks for the review. I agree, it's surprising there aren't more reviews of this one out there. But I wonder if yours is different from the "Matured in Sherry Wood" version of the BenRiach 12 year old available in North America? I understood there was originally a version available only in Asia, so it's possible there could be a difference. My sample recently purchased at the LCBO - while still having strong sherry flavours - is more dry and less creamy than I would have expected. Still, a very nice gentle introduction to the sherried malt class.

I haven't tried any of the other "wood" series from BR. Certainly on my to do list. This one seems to be the best reviewed out of the group. The 12 yr sherry is a tough act to beat, I'm definitely up for trying the rum one, although I've heard from a friend that it's less than stellar. As for this one, quite a shame its not available in Oregon. I was wondering why there aren't more reviews/comments out there for this guy. Perhaps it's not as widely available as it should be, which really is a shame. It's definitely a personal favorite!


This is my third BenRiach I've tried. Curiositas and Arumaticus Fumosus were 2 for 2, and I greatly appreciate a deep rich scotch aged in sherry casks, so you can believe I was excited about this BenRiach arriving on the shelves at the SAQ in Quebec. The nose is soft and sweet with aromas of dark chocolate and vanilla draping over brown sugar. Visions of date squares dusted in cocoa took over my thoughts until a waft of fresh cut grass weighed it all down. The palate filled with spices, mostly cloves and a hint of cardamon from across the room. Fresh figs and blueberry jelly coated my mouth and then faded into an earthy, spicy (like chewing on the cloves) finish. The finish was long and after a couple of moments gave way to dried apricots to close. This was definitely a rich and decadent scotch. I would suggest it as a beginner scotch to anyone who is slightly more adventurous than one searching for the most tame spirit out there, although it has enough character to please your more experienced noser as well. A great dram!

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