The last in the new core range, the BenRiach Smoky Twelve, changes up the casks yet again. Like The Smoky Ten, this is crafted from a combination of highland peated and unpeated malt. Though unlike the 10, there are no rum casks used this time around. Instead, we’re treated to a sweet dose of Marsala.
I really like how they’re doing this. The ex-bourbon casks are the common thread that tie the releases together, but each one gets its own signature cask type that none of the others get. It would have been very easy to take a simpler, lazier, approach so applause is due just for not taking that route. Standing while applauding is due for the variety of casks and the effort it takes to make each release unique.
BenRiach Smoky Twelve – Details and Tasting Notes
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, ex-Marsala
Age: 12 years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Dried fruit (orchard, tropical and dark), herbal, charry smoke, dried strawberries, vanilla cream, butter and jelly beans.
Malty, complex dried fruit, freeze-dried strawberries, vanilla taffy, spice, malt and a touch of herbal and nutty notes.
Long -> Peat, fruit and malt.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Well balanced, med-light body and a soft slightly waxy feel.
BenRiach Smoky Twelve – Overall
Aroma carries a hint of sherry-like sweetness that almost disappears under the light peat but works well with the dried fruits and malty notes; Palate is the waxiest of the new core and sits heavy and warm with a similar profile to the aroma; Finish is nice, but kind of muted.
This is enjoyable and I’m having a hard time picking between The Smoky Twelve and the regular Twelve as my favorite of the new core. Both are tasty and unique in their own right.
BenRiach Smoky Twelve – Final Thoughts and Score
Sweetly fruity, touch earthy malty and all-around aromatic and tasty with a light peaty note floating through. It’s completely enjoyable and perfect for what it is. This is an anytime sipper that isn’t weak or light on flavor.
Depending on what price my local shops get them for, I might pick up both this BenRiach Smoky Twelve and the regular BenRiach Twelve. It’s fun to try them side-by-side and experience the similarities and differences. I like what they’re doing with their update core and I hope it carries through in their higher aged releases.
*Disclosure: The sample for this single malt Scotch review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
BenRiach Smoky Twelve Review
If you’re looking for a peaty whisky that’s fun, waxy and full of flavor without being a peat bomb, this is what you’re looking for.