When you sip on your regular Speyside tuple, which may perhaps be a Balvenie, a Glenlivet, or maybe a Macallan, your senses are swamped with a wave of fruity, floral notes, some better, some worse. But what you might find unorthodox is a Speyside expression that has an abundance in peat for an expression that is non-Islay. Curious to try this one Or should I say ‘Curiositas’? In enters Benriach’s 10 YO peated single malt whisky!
The malted barley leveraged in this expression is dried using peat sourced from the Highlands. A practice that was more common during the yesteryears but tapered down once coal was made easily available with the introduction of railway lines and improved transportation making it a more cost effective alternative. The distillery still continues to produce quite a few peaty expressions and the Curiositas maintains to be one of their peatier spirits. This single malt is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon barrels, some virgin oak and possibly rum casks for a minimum of 10 years, giving it a natural darker hue without the need for any artificial tainting.
ABV : 46%
Eye : Pale gold | Non Chill filtered, Natural Colouring
Nose : Vanilla and brine, green apples followed by luscious peat and moist wood. Spice from dried bay leaves interleaved with a mist of caramel. Dried fruits with hints of raisins, cardamom, ginger and a dash of white pepper.
Taste : A fusion that begins with sweet raisins and caramel pudding, cuddled with smoke, a good dose of peat and hints of honey. Some salt with a savoury yet plum like flavour, combined with spiced woody notes.
Finish : Medium | Sweet sherry coupled with wood, vanilla cupcake and a mild pinch of spice
Coming into this initially, I thought the Benriach 10 was a rather young expression that wouldn’t appeal to me only because of its rather adolescent age being the handicap. My bad I guess! The fusion of smoke and peat with the richness of vanilla, honey and the subtle nuances of dried fruits really stood out for a young whisky. Crisp and refreshing, this whisky spoke of decent breadth and good complexity with a balance that stayed dead center. There were mild traits that highlighted its youth but its relationship with peat was well constructed and much in unison.
At the discounted price of AUD $75 (else $100), it is great value for money. I see this as a great option for someone who loves their peat but isn’t quite acclimatized to the heavier Islay nuances. This whisky is a recommend from me, and I see myself heading for another bottle for safe keeping!