The new core range of BenRiach consists of a 10 and 12 years old, both unpeated and peated. The fun part is the fact that all four expressions are made up of different cask types. That makes it quite interesting in my book. This Smoky Twelve is a vatting of bourbon and sherry casks, but also Marsala wine casks. Intriguing, no? Must be nice for Dr Rachel Barrie to have such lovely panoply of casks to play with as Master Blender.
Top nose! Lots of oranges and roasted almonds, but with a lovely smoky edge. Some raisins and red fruit shine through in the background. Walnuts and cloves in the mix. Banana bread in the oven. If it can keep this up on the palate, we have a winner.
While the body is somewhat light, the taste is great. The Marsala has put its foot down, offering up quite a bit of red fruit like cherries and strawberries, great notes of dark chocolate, cloves, candied oranges and vanilla shine through as well. Very complete, round and simply satisfying.
The almonds and mostly oranges reappear in the medium long, softly smoky finish.
This is my favorite of the new core range, while I secretly had hoped it would have been an unpeated one. Oh, well, that’s life. This one is just great.