BenRiach Curiositas 10 Years Review

“Neither Fish Nor Fowl”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: BenRiach Curiositas 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
ABV: 46% 

Colour: Light Gold/Straw

Nose: Light and Young but certainly not Unpleasant. There is a Meaty - and slightly Medicinal feel to the Curiositas. The Peat is different when compared to the Islay Single Malts. It's more Earthy and a bit Dusty. It's a young Single Malt so the Alcohol is there of course. Be sure to give the Curiositas some time in the glass. I find Toasted Barley, Grass, Straw, Charcoal, Heather, Roasted Peanuts, light Tar, Meat on the BBQ, Toffee and light hints of Wet Newspaper and Plastic. After a while I get Citrus Peel and Buttered Toast with Pineapple Marmalade. Despite the fact that I find traces of other Aromas as described above, the Peat is slightly dominant as is often the case with young peated Malts. With more time in the cask the peated Spirit and the Wood create more Harmony. Still, it's not bad considering age and price. 

Palate: The Delivery is a little Thin despite the good ABV. On the Palate, the Curiositas is Bitter Sweet, Waxy and Malty. I find Earthy Peat, light Smoke, Charred Oak, Nuts, Sugared Espresso, Barley, Citrus Peel, Sour Apples, Vanilla, Pepper, Licorice and a hint of Leather.

Finish: Short, Bitter Sweet and a little Dry towards the end. A clear Licorice note is present while I also find Charred Oak, Dirty Earth, Barley Sugar, Vanilla, light Smoke, light Tar, Leather, light Pepper, light Cinnamon, Grapefruit Juice and Sugared Espresso. 

I added a bit of Water. On the Nose, the Peat/Smoke retreats and some Floral and Fruity notes become evident. Palate and Finish however do not benefit from the added Water. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 83

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: The BenRiach distillery is located in the heart of 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. A lot of their production goes into the Chivas Regal Blends. The Curiositas 10 Years was launched in 2004 and is distilled with heavily Peated Barley (Around 55 PPM). The Spirit matured in Ex-Bourbon Casks and sells at an average 45 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: BenRiach is one of my favourite distilleries and the 16 Years is one of the best Single Malts I have tasted so far. But I'm not too excited about the Curiositas 10 Years I'm reviewing today despite the fact that the Price/Quality ratio is good enough. The Nose is the best part of this Curiositas with a gentle combo of Barley, Peat/Smoke and Fruity elements. It's not perfect though as I also find some hints of Medicine, Plastic and Wet Paper. But on the Palate I find the Curiositas to be Young and Thin and I'm not too fond of the Sugary Licorice note that returns with full strength in the Short Finish. The good thing about the Curiositas is its price but it can't beat young Islay Malts like the Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10. And if you're a pure Speyside fan you might not like the peaty character of the Curiositas. And that sums up the problem I have with this BenRiach expression. It's neither Fish nor Fowl.  

Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 31, 2015

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