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BenRiach has had a troubled history ever since it opened in 1897. It was repossessed by the bank in 1899 and became a sister distillery to Longmorn. Four years later in shut down completely until 1965! Glenlivet purchased it and revived it, then it was bought by Seagram. In 2004 a consortium led by Bill Walker (former head of Burn Stewart) purchased it and its entire inventory, and since then they have done a fantastic job of revitalizing the brand while also coming out with a staggering number of new expressions, many of which are single cask bottlings.
The Heart of Speyside, named after their location, was one of their first releases in 2004 and remains their entry level, no-age-statement single malt.
The colour is a pale straw. Very soft nose, quite malty with biscuity cereal notes. Floral with heather and freshly cut grass. Honey and walnuts. Very clean, simple and crisp.
The palate has a bit more spice to it, with honey, toasted pecans and oak. Buttery croissants. Very nice but a little too one-note. Water doesn't seem to do much to either the nose or palate.
The finish is richer, and rather peppery before drying to a mildly spiced light honey. As you can guess, malt and honey are the dominant notes here. While it is a very pleasant and enjoyable dram, it remains an entry-level malt in every sense of the word.