Type: Single Malt Whisky
Colour: Golden/Light Amber
Nose: Light, Mild and Crisp Speyside Nose with Honey, Heather, Wet Grass, Malt, Buttered Toast, Fresh Pastry, Pears, Mandarin, Lemon, Vanilla, Flowers, Oak, Cloves, Cinnamon and a little Salt. Hints of Banana and Milk Chocolate.
Pleasant but nothing to get overly excited about.
Palate: Young, Thin and Bitter-Sweet with Honey, Heather, Earth, Buttered Toast with Orange Marmalade, Malt, Refill Oak, Vanilla, Stewed Apples, Pepper, Cinnamon and Cloves. A hint of Espresso.
Finish: Short and slightly Bitter with Honey, Heather, Dried Fruit, Vanilla, Malt, Refill Oak, Pear flavoured Candies, light Menthol, Nut Shells and Pepper.
I added a bit of Water and on the Nose you get more Malt, Fruit and some Cocoa Milk. Palate and Finish become too Thin though. Better sip it neat.
Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20
General Remarks: The BenRiach distillery is located in the heart of the Speyside between Elgin and Rothes. It was founded around 1898 by John Duff, the owner of the nearby Longmorn distillery. Today it's one of the few distilleries with its own Malting Floors. Since 2004, it is independently owned by BenRiach Distillery Company. Most of their production goes into the Chivas Regal Blend but more than enough is left for the many Single Malt Expressions. The Heart of Speyside is their Entry Level NAS Single Malt. I would think it mainly matures in 2nd and 3rd Refill Ex-Bourbon Casks but it's possible that the occasional Ex-Sherry Butt is used as well. The Heart of Speyside is relatively cheap at around 40 US Dollars (May 2015).
Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good
Conclusion: The Heart of Speyside is a Mild and pretty Simple true to style Single Malt at an attractive price-level. Very nice for starting Whisky drinkers. Especially the Nose will scare off no one. Perhaps it's a tad too Bitter on the Palate and in the Finish. More experienced Whisky drinkers should probably look elsewhere in the BenRiach portfolio as the Heart of Speyside is a bit too simple and predictable.