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Birnie Moss Intensely Peated

Average score from 2 reviews and 6 ratings 80

Birnie Moss Intensely Peated

Product details

  • Brand: BenRiach
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 48.0%

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Birnie Moss Intensely Peated

The Birnie Moss is very important in terms of the history of BenRiach because it is the first to be wholly distilled and produced under the stewardship of the new owners (who took over in 2004) and Master Distiller Billy Walker (previous releases, such as my prior review Importanticus Fumosus, were distilled back when it was part of Seagram). And so this heralds a new era for a distillery with a very troubled history. "Birnie Moss" is the name of an area of moorland near the distillery. And, as the name suggests, it is intensely peated.

The colour is a very light gold. On the nose, we have some serious peat but it is intertwined with honey, vanilla and a hint of red liquorice. Barley sugar, cotton candy, lots of sea spray and chamomile. Water tames the alcohol and brings out some sweeter notes. Lots to discover here.

On the palate, the peat - Speyside, not Islay, there's a big difference - is sweet and fruity - not gentle, but not overpowering. Hot on the tongue. Slightly medicinal, with some light vanilla. Oily mouth coating. This is a young whisky...but that's not a bad thing here. Water smooths it out and adds more oiliness.

The finish is damp smoke, then mouth drying with thyme and macadamia nuts. This one is more of an acquired taste; Jim Murray scores this a 90 but I can't go quite that high - the peat is much more dominant than, for example, the Importanticus; and as you leave it in the glass that peat starts to overwhelm the other flavours. Still, I find it delicious. It's impossible to properly compare these two whiskies - you would never guess they are from the same distillery, unless you could really isolate the spirit's sweet, fruity notes. I guess I score the Birnie Moss slightly higher just because I love peat, but that's purely subjective: they are both very good malts. A fine start for Mr. Walker.

An impressive and mouthwatering pair of reviews. Thank you talexander.

Thank you, @GotOak91! My pleasure.


Nose: Oh my. This is almost a new make as far as the nose goes. if you have ever had a peated new make, this is it. Pears, apples, very fruity, a lot of peat, and so sweet. The color is almost clear too, with a wee yellowish hue.

Palate: Sweet, fruit and new-make-ish. lots of smoke, some dough, and cereals. Schnapps like almost. Young, young young.

Finish: Peat, Ash, and memories of far away fruit.

While visiting Balblair last year we had a taste of a peated new make, and this reminds me of it quite a bit. I am not sure how long this one spends in the casks, but boy, it’s a baby whisky. I would not recommend buying it if you are not a real lover of the new make, and peated new make to be more precise, but it you are , then it’s a good way to go.

Did you have the "older" very thin and high bottle (shown above) or the "new" squatter, BenRiach-style bottle (with BenRich prominently displayed on the label ?

The older version was round and rich and well integarted with the peat. But I found the new one to be ashy and, yes, almost new-make. My suggestion, look for the older bottles (long and thin and no Benrich on the label).

Thx @galg, I enjoy your thoughts about this. Especially because I had no clue how a new-make might taste. Now I have an idea. It is indeed a bit harsh/sharp but it's not bad in my opinion. I guess this dram might get a big fanbase: it's strong, peaty, 48% and not very expensive. The smell - besides a nice start on vanilla, fruits and peat - is really alcoholic though...

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