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Benriach Curiositas 10 Year Old Peated

Average score from 12 reviews and 48 ratings 82

Benriach Curiositas 10 Year Old Peated

Product details

  • Brand: BenRiach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 10 year old

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Benriach Curiositas 10 Year Old Peated

I am not very fond of the BenRiach Curiositas to be honest. That probably explains why I have not tried it since 2010. My buddy Pat gave me a sample from a more recent bottling and told me to give it another go. Well, why not?

The nose is soft and accessible and shows some iodine and sea weeds next to lovely notes of white fruit and vanilla. Having said that, the nose is quite closed. After a few minutes of breathing some white bread and heather join in. But the whole is very light.

It is mildly oily and sweet, but quite peppery from the start with lots of maritime elements. It shows some vanilla, white fruit, heather and soft peat. But from the second sip forwards, I also get oyster sap and some soot. That may not sound great, but it does work.

The finish is medium long on loads of earth and sweet malt.

Still one of my least favorite expressions from BenRaich, but much better than I remembered.

@Hewie - Seems that the 46% one gets more favourable feedback so could be worth a gander?

In fairness, I'm finding that in general, and bar a few notable exceptions, sweet style distillate with peat, especially non Islay, isn't my thing. I feel Ardmore has a similar profile to the Curiositas and whilst it's not bad it just doesn't 'do it for me'. Even Lagavulin at 8 years I found a bit too much on the sweet side so take that as you will, mate relaxed

A friend of mine received a bottle of this at 40% from someone cleaning out his father's home and promptly gave it to me. I gave it to @paddockjudge - I think he may have used it in a tasting.


The reviewed sample is compliments of @Pudge72. Curiositas is 10 yo, and is in a peated style

Nose: pleasant mellow fragrant peat and smoke of moderate intensity, with a little sweet lemon in the background, and a little cereal flavour from barley. A first quality nose. Water homogenised and sweetened the nose

Taste: the peat expresses on the palate in a very earthy basso sort of way, with black licorice flavour prominent. Sweet, sour, and bitter are all prominent here. In addition to a milieu of amorphous peat provided, there are also some very sharp pointed flavours from peat included. Significant smoke expresses on the palate here as well. The lemon from the nose is tasted in the mouth as well. Water diluted the flavours and brought out black licorice, which persisted into the finish

Finish: long, strong, and consistent

Balance: if you are fully prepared for a strongly smokey-peaty whisky, then the balance achieved by BenRiach Curiositas 10 yo is very good indeed. You have to like these sorts of flavours, though, because they are quite strong in Curiositas. I enjoyed this whisky quite a lot

Excellent review @Victor. I am very glad you got to try a better batch than the one I let you try. I have had 3 or 4 bottles of the Curiositas since it came out and I am really a big fan. I have reviews for two different batches L040705 31048BB and L22 07 10 3 12:21 BB (the L22 was the not so great one you tried).

@Pudge72 do you still have the bottle that you might locate the secret code numbers for the obsessive among us (me)?

@Nozinan Benriach was bought by the current owners in 2004. Curiositas was one of their first releases and the ABV was 46%. In Murray’s 2005 Whisky Bible he gives a 94 to the Curiositas 46% (L4231BB; bottled August 18th 2004 – look the great master gives us both the secret code and the decoding! All praise his work.) Obviously the bottle coding has gone through some changes.

In the 2009 WB Murray re-tastes the Curiositas (no code this time – curse the man) and scores it 95.5

In the 2011 WB he notes that the ABV has dropped to 40% and scores it a 90.

In the 2013 Malt Maniac Awards the Curiositas won the “Best Peated Malt Award” and the “Thumbs Up Award.” This is the first time the MM’s have given two awards to a single bottle. My guess . . . it was a good batch (if only we could know the bottle codes!) and the ABV is at 46% ???

Currently it looks like the US is still getting 46% versions in 750mL bottles while countries with their 700mL bottles are getting the 40% version.

SO @Nozinan my guess is that your bottle is really from 2011 or 2010 at the earliest. Just a guess. Can you find an L code of numbers anywhere on the bottle? That might helps us figure it out.


I honestly am not sure how to read the codes. My guess has been day, month, year. If that theory holds your bottle is from July 31st of 2007. But I am really not sure. The fact that L31 doesn't indicate a year or month seems to leave 2007 as the only possible option left for your bottle (as you have the 07 07 there)

The only things I can say with confidence is that the oldest Curiositas possible is from 2004 (it simply didn't exist with the previous owners). And I know that those original bottles were all at 46%. I could see your bottle being from 2007. Seven years could be "many years."

That seems to make the most sense to me. That would put my bottle L040705 being from the 4th of July 2005 and L22 07 10 being from July 22nd of 2010. And that would make sense based on when I bought those bottles. But still just a guesses.

Hope that helps


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.


I bought this bottle in East Tennessee driving back from Nashville to Norfolk last summer. Obviously, L22 can’t be the year for Benriach. Perhaps that is the day? So the 22nd day of the 07th month of the 10 year? So this bottle would be from 2010? Just a guess really. That would make my previous review from 2005 and not 2004 like I said. All just guesses. Here I my notes from 7/10/2012. The bottle had been open for just 10 days. I am sitting here tonight with a glass reading my notes. The bottle has changed a great deal in a year. But I agree with the majority of my notes - particularly my score.

Nose: Lemons and wood varnish. Definitely smells like a pine table being waxed and a floor recently scrubbed with pine-sol. It is borderline offensive, but I kind of like it. There is leather, mud, and rich malted barley: hardly a whisper of peat smoke. Old hay barn at Grandpa’s house; and his breezeway. Not the best nose, but it does give my mind those evocative images which I tend to give big points for . . . how to be fair with a nose that isn’t all that complex or lovely but takes my imagination somewhere I like to go?

Taste: Sweet and sour immediately hit the tongue. The sour wins out a bit and it turns into a very slightly sour note on the tongue. There is only a bit of peat in the background. Thick mouth feel on the tongue

Finish: Big ball of fire explodes. It is peat lined with tons of lemon. That fades to a dull roar of lemons, oak, campfire, and more lemon rinds.

Complexity, Balance: Very interesting. I would say more complex on the nose then the old 10yo, but not as complex on the taste or the finish. The balance is also a bit off. There is way too much lemon here for me.

Aesthetic experience: I don’t love the look of this bottle or the Latin name. What I do like: the label color, the right age at 10yo, and 46% ABV!

Total = 21.5 Conclusion: Not a great example of Cuiositas. Very sour stuff going on. That said, I will certainly another bottle. It is a great peat alternative to Islay. As a peat head I would love to see more peated Highland and Speyside single malts out there. However I can’t find this bottle in Virginia and it is $75 in Maryland . . . less then $50 at Binny’s. I’ll wait till I can find it in the $50 range.


I bought this bottle from Binny’s in September of 2010 after first trying a BenRiach 50mL tasting. Since then I have bought two other batches of Curiositas neither of which where as good as this one. If the L number is similar to Ardbeg then this bottle was filled in 2004. That would have made it one of the first batches of Curiositas made by the new owners of BenRiach. For me this was one of the bottles that got me searching for peat outside of Islay. These notes come from 9/3/2010

Nose: This nose starts with hay and other notes associated with the farm: leather gloves, cornmeal, animal feed, and a hint of mustard that is both dryer and astringent. With time more farm notes appear: muddy boots, dirty hay that animals have used, rusty water pipes. Lovely! Now a little bit of lye soap and something that reminds me of the breezeway from my Grandfather’s farm house. Magnificent! I love this nose. There are a few wisps of smoke. The peat is there but does not dominate. The farm smells are out of this world!

Taste: Not too sweet . . . there is some sour green apple, pear, and lemon. A bit of peat with a hint of smoke. More light fruits with a hint of mustard.

Finish: Big roar of peat and fire that hits all in one big bang that leaves your mouth coated with sea salt and iodine. Crazy! This is much more like an Islay malt then on the nose or taste – and yet so very different from Islay. Lovely dry hay peat . . . that grows into a nice crescendo of peat and sea salt.

Complexity, Balance: This is amazingly well balanced on the nose, palate and finish. The peat works beautifully with the malt and bring out tons of flavors on the nose. The taste has more sour fruits (slightly sweet) then the nose, but the finish brings is all into focus. So great complexity with a bit off for balance.

Aesthetic experience: I remember this bottle as it was when I first bought it. The color is very light and I didn’t like it. I also hated the name. I wish they dropped the Latin “Curiositas” and simply had it as 10yo Peated – or something like that. Oh well. I still love how this particular batch is the closest thing I have come to a “farmy” Brora (mainly on the nose) in a long while. Further, it is 46% and I am sure they didn’t use E-150a in this batch (or if they did it was very, very little).

Conclusion: for me this score is “buy another” without question. Sure, the last two bottles I have owned have not been as good. However, I really like what BenRiach is doing and I hope they keep it up. I am excited to see what happens when the peated spirit that the current owners are making gets into the Curiositas.


Got this bottle for a Father's Day gift.

Nose: alcohol hits first. Then you pick up the peat which dominates the nose. Behind the peat I pick up faint floral scent.

Taste: neat, the peat taste dominates with alcohol and some good heat. With a bit of water, it opens up pear and green apple typical of a Speyside. The peat is still there but it fades back compared to the fruit flavour.

Finish: dry wih some malty aftertaste that doesn't last too long

Overall its very good, it has a decent punch of peat, not as much as a Islay, but then settles into a solid Speyside.


I find this whisky a bit sneaky in that i've found it rather changeable in a single bottle. At first I thought it was receding a bit as it seemed to be a good deal harder nearer the neck but I think now it's just a variable dram. I've come to expect that - based upon what i've been doing more than anything else - but this is more extreme than i'm used to.

I always drink it straight, I don't care for it as much with water.

Nose: Not swarming in peat, but it's still dominant. Some medicinal flower behind that?

Mouth: At first it seems like it might be a bit aggressive but it actually goes by quite politely. I still find it medium-heavy on the mouth, and a little oily (even creamy) in a lovely way. Thicker peat at the back makes it ripe for sipping. Woody, sometimes a little spice that keeps it getting too heavy.

After: Little warming blisters at the front of my mouth, goes down smooth and warming with perhaps a hint of mauling on anything but the tiniest sip (but who's to blame for that?).

Final word: Nothing spectacular here, kind of reminds me of the pal you only see at the boozer who always has crack but who you never add on Facebook. Still, you could spend an entire evening in his company without getting bored. There aren't many whiskies I could drink from neck to toe in one sitting, but this is one of them.


Nose: A fair bit of alcohol coming off this. Had a tough time catching particular notes off it until I'd warmed it a bit in my hand. Much of the typical Speyside fruity notes--pear is most present. The peat is, of course, there... but it is significantly different from the Islay peat I'm used to. It's sharper... like there's a pine element to it. As the glass warms, there are hints of licorice and, faintly, some marzipan.

Water brings out some malty notes

Taste: Yowza! Served neat this has a quick attack... with a fair bit of heat to it. The alcohol heat diminishes to a chilli spice then gets much smokier than the nose would lead you to believe. The peat smoke recedes quickly from the foreground but is always present. Some nuttiness arrives as the smoke settles in. This dram is definitely more enjoyable with water. A half teaspoon calms the arrival. The chilli heat is still there, but it comes on a little slower and more mild mannered. It's a slightly sweet buttery heat--reminds me a bit of Talisker in that regard. The water also helps bring out the nutty notes suggested in the nose.

Finish: Medium in length. Dry. Smokey marzipan. Pepper and oak.

Summary. Really amazing what water does to this one. It's a scrappy whiskey neat, but a little bath tames it and suddenly it's surprisingly sweet and buttery. Then, just when you think you have it figured out, it finishes dry and slightly peppery. Very interesting.


I’ve sampled a few malts from the BenRiach range at different Whisky shows, however I’ve never actually bought a bottle for myself to drink. I thought I would change that fact when I saw a bottle of Curiositas at a fairly decent price.

It’s a peated whisky, and as BenRiach have a tendency to do with a lot of their peated malts it has been given a delightful name, which provokes curiosity in itself! Upon giving this dram a smell, the peat is prominent, but you can sense that there is a lot more going on in there!

The taste proves that, as the peat is actually fairly light and gentle, giving way to a bit of vanilla and faint fruit. There’s a short finish to it, but in my opinion it rounds the dram off nicely, making you eager for that next sip!

I really enjoyed this whisky, and I would say it is a good introduction to peat in general!


I’ve reviewed a couple of Peated Benriachs before (The Arumticus Fumosus & Heredotus Fumosus) and quite liked those back then. Both were finished heavily peated expressions, and it’s interesting to try a non-finished young peated BenRiach. That’s what the Curiositas is, exactly!

Benriach Curiositas , 10 yo , 40% ABV, £27 (buy here)

Nose: Peat, sort of dusty peat, underneath sits some wood and ,also some fruity notes (cherubs).

Palate: Sweetness of the barley, and fruit is well integrated with the massive peat and some spices (cinnamon,pepper). The palate is really nice, and much sweeter than the nose suggests. Lovely Mix.

Finish: Long, with long lasting peat, wee wood, and some cocoa/coffee bitterness, intertwined with the sweeter sugary notes of barley.

Bottom line :

a very enjoyable peated Speysider. Not Ultra Complex, and the nose could use a bit more Oomph and style. however the palate and finish make up for it.

I seem to like those BernRiachs. Well made, and at a good price point.

Who said good peated malts can only be found on Islay?

I bought a bottle, seeing it was a peated Speyside. I was looking for nice diversity and I found it here. There is immediate peat and smoke, but not overly impressive or overwhelming to nose- adequate may be proper to say. The palate and finish mentioned above are accurate... but here's the twist. Don't let go of the palate too soon.... there is a warming and smokey mood that comes with this dram that you will miss if you rush it. I found it to be really rewarding and set a mood that relaxed me. A nice 78-80.

It should be noted that there are 2 releases of this whiskey. I owned a bottle last year that was bottled at 46% ABV. I remeber really intense aromas and flavours from the nose to the finish, but balanced perfectly. A whiskey with character. Michael Jackson's Whisky Companion rates both versions of the whiskey. The one bottled at 46% ABV was rated significantly higher than the on bottled at 40% ABV (which is what influenced me to try it out in the first place). It might be worth trying to get your hands on the 46% ABV bottle as it might bring you a whole new experience. I would love to hear about it if you get the chance to. I would give the 46% dram a solid 90/100 (keeping in mind that it's been a while since I've tried it).



This one is light in color and the tears in the glass will keep you occupied for several minutes. Nice.

The nose is all about peat, iodine, paint thinner (55 ppm). Upon the second whiff it even made me think about charcoal or baked bacon (er...). Upon the third whiff I detected some flowery elements in the background. But the peat overwhelms the sweetness of this BenRiach. Not really my cup of tea.

On the palate he is overly medicinal as well to turn sweet and peppery only after a while. Pretty dry too. If you didn't know better, you would think this was an Islay whisky, but not a very good one. Being a Speysider, I'm not sure what to think. It reminds me a bit of a dreadful cough sirup I took as a child.

The finish last rather long. The dram sticks to your mouth quite a while. You taste the earth and barley, but he dries up rather fast and becomes too woody at the death.

I'm none too happy with this one.


Powerful nose of iodine, peat and paint thinner, becomes muted with a drop of water. Pale yellow colour, with medium body. Medicine-y at first bite, but with water focuses the flavours down to a rich cough syrup and heavy phenolic flavour.

This sounds like a genuinely good malt. I've added this one to my wish-list.

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