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Benriach 20 Year Old

Average score from 4 reviews and 11 ratings 84

Benriach 20 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: BenRiach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 20 year old

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Benriach 20 Year Old

The BenRiach 20 was one of the first single malts I had ever purchased in my life - thanks to an overly eager salesperson. And I remember absolutely hating it! It tasted so vile I never wanted to see another BenRiach again in my life.

So it was with a sense of trepidation that three years later I decided to re-visit the same bottle and see if my first impressions were on point or not.

The answer is Yes and No. Yes, it is still not a great whisky. No, it's not as bad as I remember.

I don't know if it's three years of oxidization or my now generous soul but this expression is OK. Not good; just OK.

Nose: Delicate Speyside with a mix of fruity florals and perfumed barley followed by a melon sweetness which is underscored by a dash of salt and pepper.

Palate: Prickly spice in a drizzle of light fruity honey. One dimensional at best.

Finish: Long and spicy with a strong bitter citrus after taste.

Look, this is not the vile swill I had a while ago but it's not what I would serve to my whisky club. They would politely put their glasses away.


Having already tried the ‘Heart of Speyside,’ the 12, and the 16, it’s only natural that I move on to the 20 year old. True to form, the 20 keeps the core range’s tradition of playing it safe in terms of flavour profiles. Is it bigger and better than its tasty, albeit average counterparts? Let’s see.

Nose: Light fruits come first. Fresh pears and pineapple, predominantly. Apple and cinnamon, honey, and a creamy wisp of white chocolate are next. Wow. This is really fresh, fruity, and vibrant, given that it’s a well-aged release.

Palate: Creamy arrival. Mild nuts, seared vanilla, and some spice greet us first. The fruits make a fleeting appearance afterwards, although it would be nice if they stuck around a bit longer. The characteristic grain and peat combo that are found throughout the core range are also in there, but slightly smoother and more subdued than in its younger counterparts.

Finish: Medium finish. Melon, spice, and the faintest hint of charred oak.

This is a good dram. It should be more rounded, given the age. Also, the nose promises a fresher and fruitier dram than what’s given. And of course, the 43% isn’t doing it any favours. As it goes, the core range of Benriach remains a slightly above average offering, but it’s played too safe. Being a lover of their more eccentric releases, I can hardly resent the brand for keeping it simple with their core range. But it’s just not everything you want it to be. If you want something with more character, go for the peated, the wood, and the limited releases. Although it’s hit or miss, they are always interesting. The flagship range is not. They’re light, simple, straight-forward, and safe. Good, yes. But this is not where this distillery excels.


We’re climbing the age ramp , and after having 16,17 year olds, we’ve reached the more mature 20 and 21 year old (next post). For a 20 year old whisky , this one is well priced at around £51, yet the 43% is a bit disappointing. why not up the ante and go with 46%? this is clearly not an entry level whisky…

The BenrRiach 20 yo , 43% ABV , £51 Nose: Starts lighter with floral notes, then Vanilla,Marzipan, honey, some exotic fruit and wood, quite a bit of that here. Palate: Vanilla, Apples dipped in honey, Mars Chocolate bars, nuts and spice. Finish : Milk chocolate (Milka), Cocoa, wood and spice, with a wee sultana aftertaste , medium length

Bottom line:

This is a very good whisky, offering something for everyone, fruit, wood, chocolate and a nice after taste. Again, at £51 it offers a nice price/quality ratio. I wish more 20 year old whiskies would be priced like that.

A good buy. no doubt.


Nose: something of a potpourri: orange, pear, peach, pineapple candy, berries. Some lavender. White chocolate. Bourbon wood. Vanilla. Something dusty and farmy, but very nice. Also light peat and subtle smoke. Mouth: vanilla and honey. Malt. Tobacco. Slightly vegetal and acidic, but pleasant. Getting spicier after a while. Finish on melon and vanilla. Overall sweet but with some bitter oranges. Light smoke.

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