Single malt whisky - tasting notes

04 Oct 2011

BenRiach 20 Year Old

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in BenRiach

The oldest ‘Classic’ BenRiach in the core range (the 25yo, 30yo and 40yo are part of a Premium range). Generally well received and very reasonably priced. When I tried it, I was told that half of the batch is actually 23 to 26 years old whisky (matured in first fill bourbon casks). 40% is 20 years old whisky and 10% of peated 21 years old BenRiach. I’m not sure whether the recipe is still the same for current batches.

I tasted this one at the Whisky Festival in Gent a couple of years ago and since I didn’t write down any notes at that time, I really wanted to taste it again.


BenRiach 20 years BenRiach 20 yo (43%, OB 2009)

Nose: something of a potpourri: orange, pear, peach, pineapple candy, berries. Some lavender. White chocolate. Bourbon wood. Vanilla. Something dusty and farmy, but very nice. Also light peat and subtle smoke. Mouth: vanilla and honey. Malt. Tobacco. Slightly vegetal and acidic, but pleasant. Getting spicier after a while. Finish on melon and vanilla. Overall sweet but with some bitter oranges. Light smoke.

Compared to the BenRiach 16y, this one is more complex, with less caramel toffee and more fruit. More punch as well. It really stands out from the rest of the core range. It’s the most expensive but by far the best value for money. Around € 65.

Score: 87/100

BenRiach 20 Year Old 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2011-10-04
  • WhiskyBrother

    I love this BenRiach, especially this particular batch, which is the 2nd batch. The third one is the current one available and they have dropped the peat component from 10% down to 1%. I’ve tried it and it isn’t nearly as good as this one.

    The way to tell the difference between the batches is the colour of the ’20’ and distillery image on the label. The first batch was in white/yellow, the 2nd is pictured in this post, and the 3rd has a different blue if I’m not mistaken.

    I reviewed this last year and gave it an 87/100 as well. Our notes have good similarities but you seem to have picked up more distinct fruits than I did.

    I’ve been looking for another bottle of this to buy, I simply love it.



December 2015
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Coming up

  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1934 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.