Benriach Smoke Season is a peated expression that came a bit later in the remodeling of the core range. While Speyside isn’t known for making peaty whiskies, Benriach have been doing this for years and having to clean the equipment means it’s a restricted period. There’s no age statement but it boasts a high ABV to make it stand out.
The malted barley was peated to 45 ppm – the entire composition is made up from peated spirit by the way. It is matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels and American virgin oak casks.
Benriach Smoke Season – Double Cask Matured (52,8%, OB 2021)
Nose: smooth campfire smoke, fairly sweet. Obviously no medicinal notes, just a clean toasted / ashy profile with a good dose of creamy American oak vanilla and toffee. Caramel and a hint of candied orange. Some crushed peppercorns as well.
Mouth: a big attack, more peppery now, with some burnt bready notes and crème brûlée. Sweet, with slightly youngish hints of pears and sweet lemons, as well as caramel notes and plenty of spices from the oak (pepper, cinnamon), leading to herbal notes in the end.
Finish: long, on liquorice, warm smoke and oak spice. A late hint of dark chocolate as well.
The combination of peat and (virgin oak) spice makes this a bold whisky. Perfectly fine but lacking something extra (other than just punch) to make it stand out. Available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt for instance.