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Benriach 13 Year Old Maderensis Madeira Finish

Average score from 5 reviews and 8 ratings 87

Benriach 13 Year Old Maderensis Madeira Finish

Product details

  • Brand: BenRiach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Age: 13 year old

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Benriach 13 Year Old Maderensis Madeira Finish

Bias admission up front - I have quite the soft spot for Benriach. Or at least I did. Not sure how I feel about the Brown Forman takeover of the company - latest prices we've seen on new releases of Benriach seem fairly high and a bit of a turnoff compared to the products of yesteryear. Maybe I'm not fair, maybe times have changed and prices have done so accordingly, maybe I am guilty of constantly living in the good ol days... Maybe it's Maybelline.
Whatever. Whilst I may be in a lamenting mood, the best way to kick it is to reach for something that's been sitting in my jealously guarded stockpile for what I now deem to be the rainy days that have come upon us.
Benriach Madenrensis Fumosus 13 yo Heavily Peated. This 13 y.o Benriach has spent some time in American Oak before getting a finishing in Madeira. As I sit back and sip this one, I fondly gaze at the receipt which tells me I originally paid $45 for this one, and I reflect on the scene in the office in which Andy says: "I wish there was a way to know you're actually in the good ol days before you've left them" sniff

Nose: Smoky yet sweet - not islay smoke like at all - imagine if you lit some hard fruit candy on fire. Hmm.... looks around the room for candy and a lighter. It's a sweet smoke - It has what I've come to associate as the classic Benriach sweetness on the nose, but with smoke all over it. Touch of pineapple, some sweet red dessert wine (might be the madeira? never had the wine itself but I'm guessing that's it). Harmoniously tied together and quite appealing.

Palate: Campfire smoke - has some ashy peat and brine up front. Then the fruits make an appearance - some green apple, light citrus notes, some black pepper kicks in afterwards. It has a pretty nice viscous mouthfeel. Altogether decent, but was kind of hoping for more given how much I liked the nose.

Finish: Tobacco and coffee, hints of dark chocolate, Lasts for a decently satisfying amount of time

This is a great example of how Speyside peated whisky can and should be done. It's bottled at a good abv. It was reasonably well put together and sold at a price that didn't leave me Fumosus (sorry, I'll show myself out). It's tasty and warming, and gives you that warm home comfort feel. Glad I saved bottles like these for drinking since I don't see myself springing for the new stuff at the same age and 3-4x the price.

@cricklewood hahahaa, I love this commentary. Biggus Dickus, that's gold, Jerry!, Gold! Alas, with these peated BenRiachs, I was not smart enough to stock up on the others, but at the very least we had a healthy amount of single casks to choose from, so I've made sure to pick up a good amount.... and they ranged from 10-18 years, yet none of them cost me more than $100CAD. So far, I haven't come across a bad one.... just varying degrees of good which is what spurred my love for Benriach.

@Mackstine I take it you're in Alberta? If so you did indeed receive many great single cask releases over the last few years and at pretty sweet prices.

I picked a couple up on my last trip, sadly the options were thinning out and I was already so loaded down. I'm hoping when I return for a work trip in the fall there might be some left.... Wishful thinking I know.


I'll confess, I do love a bit of Latin, I think it adds mystery probably because I can't understand a fucking word of it. Rather like that dead language there's loads going on with this whisky and some of it is rather difficult to understand. This allows the power of suggestion to take hold, and one must be careful when trying to put in to words such a challenging and deep-running dram. NOSE: Very heavy, a sniff that keeps on giving; you get alcohol at the end just as you get alcohol at the beginning. Peat, and lots of it, You also (I think) get fruit, maybe red grapes, raisins? I'm reminded of wine dregs, maybe in the bottom of an oak barrel. MOUTH: Thunderous, smoke, peat, no coal or oil which i often get with peaty whisky (may be associative, but not a drop of it here), there's a sweetness at the back and combined with the cloying nature of a very heavy dram it put me in mind of syrup or honey, more in a general sense than a specific one. "Smacks" with a little citrus. There's an awful lot going on here - somehow it works. AFTER:Enormously long in my experience with a real dazzle from throat to tongue that puts me in mind of that deep alcohol breath at the start. Once familiar with the dram i just got a feeling it was "settling into itself" which i always rather enjoy, but there is arguably a new emergence here or there. I think this bottle is an astonishing achievement, maybe not a genuine top 1% dram, but different - very different and that's what the brand is about i suppose. Get 'em while they're hot!


BenRiach 13 year old Madeira Finish, known as "Maderensis Fumonsus", was the number one treat for me at our Speyside blind tasting. I guess I've learned something about BenRiach, 'cause I managed to guess the distillery and age.

BenRiach has found it's way to my heart, they surely know how to make a peaty whisky versatile without losing the smokiness.

BenRiach 13 yrs Maderensis Fumonsus was very steady with the smoke, it didn't run out. Still it gave me lots of other things as well. It was dark but sweet, truly a Dark Angel.

Nose: Steady smoke that starts out strongly and stays sophisticated all the way in the background. Slightly peaty and fruity. Gets more zesty when water added.

Taste: Peaty with clearing smoke. Sweet like wine. Water ads softness and gives some dryness in the shape of dark chocolate. Could there be toffee as well? Whatever it was, it was dark!

Finish: Dark fruits and bitter-sweet peat.

Balance: Richly smoky dram with darkness dominating the palate, yet lots of color in the background.

Here's the result of our blind tasting. The winner and second place shared the same overall score but Parliament won in decimals.

1.GlenDronach 21 yrs Parliament connosr.com/reviews/glendronach/…

2.BenRiach 13 year old Madeira Finish - Maderensis Fumonsus

3.Dailuaine 16 yrs - Flora and Fauna connosr.com/reviews/dailuaine/…

4.Benromach Peat Smoke connosr.com/reviews/benromach/…

5.Glenglassaugh Evolution connosr.com/reviews/glenglassaugh/…

6.Balvenie Single Barrel 15 yrs, batch 8590 connosr.com/reviews/balvenie/…


I bought the BenRiach Maderensis Fumosus because I was looking for a smoky malt with some intense and luxorious sweetness. This didn't quite live up to that, but it ain't too bad.

Nose: First comes the smoke. It's not 'in your face' Laphroaig type of smoke, but more mellow yet deep smoke. There's something reminiscent of motor oil. With some time in the glass, the sweeter notes start to appear more strongly. It's hard to pinpoint any fruit, it's more general syrupy sweetness.

Palate: The same duet of smoke and sweetness continues, but in the mouth in much more balanced way. The sweetness is there right from the beginning with the oily mellow smoke. Again, it's hard to find any fruitiness, and the sweetness is indeed more candy like than fruity. The finish slowly fades away with the dying smoke. This is not a dry finish at all, but mouthwatering.

Now don't get my depiction wrong. This is after all not a sweet whisky in my opinion. In fact, not significantly sweeter than Ardbeg 10 is for example. But the sweetness is different to the fruit like sweetness of many counterparts. There's not much complexity, but the balance is almost perfect.

It's not a masterpiece, but I would certainly recommend it, especially with the price it goes for (not too expensive). If you're looking for a smoky dram with a twist of something different, this could well be it.


After two non peated beauties, we come back to the peated land. It’s Speyside, yes i know, but if you remember my previous BenRiach posts, i quite liked their peated line. How will this Madeira finish fare? will it be in par with the sherry / rum ‘Fumosuses’? Let’s dive in. Nose first, of course!

The BenRiach 13 yo Maderensis Fumosus , 46% ABV ,£30 Nose: Peat smoke, with a lot of sweet tropical fruit. A kind of a peat lollipop, with a pinch of cinnamon added to it. Palate:Oodles of sweet peat smoke, cocoa, butterscotch and the spices from the nose. the tropical fruits, are all but gone. Finish : bitter wood, peat, cocoa, with a bitter sweet edge.

Bottom line:

Another peaty lollipop from The BanRiach. If you like peat combined with fruity, sweet, tropical fruit, this is your dram.I quite liked it, and it’s really on the sweeter side, with the dry peat balancing it out. Not your everyday dram, but a wonderful after dinner dram, with a cigar, or even with some dark chocolate. nice touch on the 46% ABV. all whiskies should be bottled at 46% min.

I've two Port Ellen's by Old Bothwell (27 and 28 yo, the latter from a puncheon), an independent Caol Ila (15 yo in a refill sherry butt), another independent bourbon matured 14 yo Ardmore...yes I think those are the highliths from my peaty side fo the moon!

Luca, i know you are! wait for tomorroow i'm posting my notes of the 21 year old Authenticus on the blog (whiskyisrael.co.il)... that one is a stunner! any new bottles on your side?

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