BenRiach 12 y.o. Sherry Matured Review

BenRiach 12 y.o. Sherry Matured085

46% abv

Score:  87/100


Single cask releases from BenRiach will always be the heartsblood of this distillery in my eyes, but it’s truly impressive how consistently enjoyable even the standard expressions are.  This 12 year old – an age that generally doesn’t excite me beyond the realms of Islay malts – performs like a budding rock star.  Yes, it’s a little shy when held up against some of the other BenRiach expressions we’ve tried to date (dozens), but still puts on a hell of a show.

I’m a huge fan of naked BenRiach – there’s just something about the distillery’s fruity spirit matured in bourbon barrels that works for me – but trying it all wrapped up in a clean sherry blanket is a real treat.  Interestingly enough, this one bears all the hallmarks of one of our favorite NAS malts, a’bunadh.  But, shhhhhh…we’ll not deign to discuss NAS here for now.  Instead, suffice it to say that this one ticks all the flavour boxes, if not necessarily the desire for the pure, unadulterated whomp! of cask strength offerings.  So be it.  Still a tasty drink in an approachable tax bracket.

Nose:  Jammy and sweet.  Almost a red licorice.  Spicy.  Very spicy.  Like sharp cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.  Great berry and stone fruit aromas.  Lavender and white chocolate.  Soft and smells infinitely sippable.  Something about this one hearkens back to gramma’s kitchen.

Palate:  Cinnamon sticks and big juicy sherry notes.  Jams and jellies.  Candies and dried fruits.  Crunchy MacIntosh apples and a squeeze of very fresh orange.  Juicy and tangy.

Thoughts:  Very clean sherry.  Nice barrels in this one.  Not far off an a’bunadh, as I said, but obviously about 15% less punching power.  Maybe like an a’bunadh meets a Balvenie, if you can wrap your head around that one.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

4 thoughts on “BenRiach 12 y.o. Sherry Matured Review

      1. David

        As a physician, I have to say that while I like the sentiment of that comment, unfortunately that doesn’t always play out.

        I remember a mentor of mine remarking that life was too short, and to enjoy things while you can.

        Luckily, I have a lifetime supply of A’Bunadh in the bunker (especially since I’ve expanded my range of spirit enjoyment), so even if they stop making it I’m ok, and so are any guests.

        But on that theme, I stand by my position that (NAS debate aside – assume I am referring to age-stated spirits for the moment) for moderate drinkers who read more than sip, life is too short to waste on mediocre or “just OK” malts. Every dram should aim to be high quality. That’s why I WILL pay a little more for something like Amrut or Booker’s.

  1. Brent

    I very much enjoy this whisky. Was told that the 15 y/o isn’t any better than the 12. I’ve had the 15 (PX finish btw) and while they are comparable, I think the 15 better. $20-30 CAD better? Maybe not, but a fine whisky for a sherry-head at the least.

    Since everyone seems to be talking A’Bunadh, personally I exclude it from the NAS discussion simply because it was there for quite a long time and it’s cask strength. It is what it is and Aberlour never abandoned its age statements to produce it. While I can’t get the 16 y/o locally at least it (and the 12/18) is still available. Perhaps I should judge it more harshly (along the lines of how the Ewoks begat JarJar Binks) but it remains a fine whisky. Now if Aberlour kills off its age statements, then I’ll pull my support of them PDQ.

    This is a good whisky at a very nice pricepoint (if such a thing exists in Canada outside of Alberta). Thanks for the review.


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