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I’ve always been adamant about my love for this distillery. When I try something from them, I WANT to like it. Usually I do. With such a variety of products, it’s often hit or miss with these guys. This 10 yo Curiositas is a hit. Here’s my take on it.
Nose: Cola and ginger ale on the nose. There’s a strong honey character here. Frosted Flakes maybe? The peat seems slightly flat when compared to some of the better Islay drams. In Quebec there’s a tradition of cooking bacon with maple syrup. This smells similar, but switch the maple syrup with honey and that’s what you’ve got here. This is sweet and unique, but not very dynamic.
Palate: Honey on arrival. Light bodied. Mild smoky bacon. BenRiach’s signature nutty character is also noticeable here.
Finish: Faint apples, cereal, and bacon. Gentle smoke and the “BenRiach finish”, which goes a bit sour. I have found that BenRiach whiskies (that haven’t been treated in other casks) tend to have something tart and acidic towards the finish, and this is no exception. Sweet and sour and smoky. Oddly, I’m reminded of McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce that I used to dip my chicken nuggets in as a kid. I’m lovin’ it.
I love that this distillery is independent and plays around with different styles. They aren’t the best of the best in any given category, but they go for it and I respect that. Their sherried malts tend to be of a higher quality than their peated ones. The peated BenRiach’s aren’t quite as strong, confident, or dynamic as Islay drams tend to be. BUT I’ve never met a peated BenRiach that I didn’t like. They’re good. And they show a different character. In my book, a non-coastal peated dram is quite special.
This 10 yo isn’t particularly complex or dynamic. But I do love the sweet and sour balance. It’s easy sipping. The lack of coastal character, the signature sour finish, the 46% abv, and the affordable price tag all make this a wonderful whisky in my book. It’s not intricate nor is it rich. It’s just pleasant and soothing. Once again, I find myself charmed by BenRiach.