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Benriach 16 Year Old

Average score from 6 reviews and 16 ratings 82

Benriach 16 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: BenRiach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 16 year old

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Benriach 16 Year Old

At the end of 2020 BenRiach announced they would give the core-range a completely new look – and a new recipe. Well, I would very much like to find out more, but before I do that I wish to acclimatize my taste buds with this 16 years old BenRiach from 2014. It’s from an era where ‘matured in oak casks’ was all you could find on the label. It has been ten years since I last tasted their 16 years old, imagine that.

The nose is sweet and sour on hazelnuts and grapefruit, sweet malt and a truckload of milk chocolate. Hint of toast with a thin layer of honey on top. Slowly it becomes more sweet on apricot pie. Good.

The body is light, but not watery. Citrus fruit kicks in first (grapefruit and oranges) followed by a nice spiciness. Think ginger, liquorice and white pepper. There is no doubt that some sherry matured malt went into the mix, for I also get apricots, raisins and cloves. A hint of woodsmoke. Keeps getting better and surpasses the nose.

The finish is medium long, sweet and a touch boozy, if you know what I mean.

Ah, this is still a very good whisky, isn’t it? Very satisfying. Thanks for the sample, Benny.


Benriach is an absolutely wonderful independent distillery with an extensive and somewhat experimental range of whiskies. I particularly love their sherry-influenced releases, but what about their core range? I find this distillery flourishes when offering ‘finished’ whiskies, but the core range can often come off as bland or uneventful by comparison. At least, that was my reaction to the ‘Heart of Speyside’ and the 12 Year Old. Here’s my take on the 16.

Nose: Almonds, grain, smooth vanilla, cream, butter, and white rice. Light oak and peat are in there, too. After some time, there are also some nice tropical fruit notes, albeit faint. Coconut and pineapple? I think so. That’s unexpected…

Palate: Really pleasant, farm-ish notes hit first. Barley, fresh wheat, and late-summer grass. There’s also some mild peat coming through. Extremely nutty throughout.

Finish: Ends on a burnt pastry note. Burnt butter. Malt and peat. Citrus rind comes in just at the end, as well.

I don’t know what to make of this dram. I like the nutty character. I like the mild grass and peat in here. But it doesn’t blow my mind. It’s distinct, yet somehow average. While I’ve become accustomed to the more ‘fanciful’ releases from this brand, this is certainly a pleasant, if not straight-forward expression from BenRiach. If I had to compare this to another dram, I might draw comparisons to a blend, of all things. Odd, I know, but the grassy, farmy, nutty, grainy notes really remind me to my beloved Ballentine’s 17. Overall, this is good stuff. Pleasant through and through. But this should be stronger. At just 43%, it could be a much more vibrant dram if it were bottled at a higher percentage. The peated character isn’t as good or rounded as it is in the ‘Fumosus’ releases. The grainy, grassy character is great, but better presented in the cheaper-still Ballentine’s 17. Everything characteristic of this whisky can be found elsewhere, often better done and/or cheaper. Good, but not great.


I must say I expected more from this whisky at this age. It's good but not exciting. Nose is the best part of it. But lacking in other departments.

Nose: honey, vanilla, almonds, caramel, sultanas Palate: Coffee beans, peach Finish: Coffee, sultanas, orange peel


This one is the older brother of the 12 yo I wrote about earlier this week, let’s see what we’re in for after an additional 4 years of maturation.

The BenRiach 16 yo, 40% ABV , £36

Nose: The nose on this one is spicier than the 12 yo. Starting on candied Ginger, a bit of exotic fruit (papaya, sun-dried banana) , marzipan and creamy rice pudding. Palate: Almonds, Nuts, buttered bread with honey ,again the sun-dried banana, and lots of vanilla coming in and doing very nice things to your palate Finish : Longish, malty, spicy, with toasted oak, and do i feel the teeniest wee bit of peat ? I think i do.

Bottom line:

A very good dram. I like this one better than the 12 yo, with its rich nose, and those fruits, and the buttery palate, delivering all that the nose had promised. Good stuff, at a nice price as well. Very likable and highly addictive. Why 40%? this one should go up to 46% and earn a few more points...

@galg, very nice review. "...but why 40%?" is a question I ask about every 40% whisky. 46% also usually seems a little dilute for my taste. I think that it winds up falling to whisky connoisseurs worldwide to convince the spirits companies that there is a robust market for the less diluted more fulsome products. Hopefully that convincing is gradually continuing to take place. They won't provide the undiluted products unless we are willing to pay for them.

@victor: i agree fully. I am willing to pay more for a decent CS version at least 48%. and i know many of my whisky friends and blog readers are too. let's lead the revolution.


This expression, like the entry malt Heart of Speyside from BenRiach distillery, was launched in august 2004 for the first time.

The nose if fresh, lots of grain, no so much fruit. But it’s not quite as outspoken as the Heart of Speyside. Rather closed, in my opinion. I get hazelnuts, toasted bread with vanilla and a layer of honey.

On the palate he’s rather creamy with a very peppery attack, followed immediately with vanilla and toffee. Wonderful apples too. Some marzipan, maybe? And a touch of smoke. Nice!

The finish is spicy and oaky.

This one won the silver medal in 2009 as ‘Best in Class’ at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, after having already won silver in 2007 at the International Spirits Challenge. Before that, in 2006, it won the gold medal and the silver medal in aforementioned competitions, respectively.

With everything I read about Benriach, the more I want to taste them. I'm getting the feeling it's something else.

Well @po0mille, stay tuned, I have three or four more reviews coming up this week.


Nose: fresh and light, but it takes the profile of the younger versions to another level. Rather grainy, with notes of dark bread and toast. Less fruity. Instead more nutty notes. Some honey. Mouth: very nice, spicy start. There’s some very light peat smoke, but hardly recognizable and well integrated. Toffee and apples. Some peach. Spicy finish, with clear oak influence. Vanilla.

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