BenRiach 12 Years Sherry Wood Review

“Sherry Oh Baby”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highlands - Speyside
Brand: BenRiach Sherry Wood
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 46% 

Colour: Dark Sherry (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet and driven by the Ex-Sherry casks with lots of Dried Fruits, Nuts and Christmas Spices. I don't find a clear Sulphur note. It's quite probable that a significant amount of First Fill Casks have been used for this Malt. I find Sweet Barley, Yeast, Butterkekse, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, Marzipan, Stewed Apple, Orange, slightly Sour Cherries, Honey, Sugared Almonds, light Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove and Oak. Hints of Espresso and Leather. Some Floral notes after a while. It's a pity that the Alcohol is not fully integrated. Still, not bad!

Palate: Mostly Bitter-Sweet and a little "Hot". I find Sweet Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, Marzipan, Orange, Lemon, slightly Sour Cherries, Dried Fruits, Walnuts, Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Licorice, Cardamom and traces of Salt, Leather and Espresso.
Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Sour but mostly Bitter-Sweet with Sweet Barley, Dark Red Fruit, Caramel, Toffee, Oak, Nuts, light Honey, light Vanilla, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and traces of Cardamom, Dusty Road, Espresso and Licorice. The Alcohol is still a bit "Hot". Quite Dry in the end. 

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose you get more Barley and Fruit. On the Palate you get rid of most of the Alcohol and that's a good thing. The 12 Years Sherry Wood becomes quite Fruity and Creamy. The Finish suffers a bit from the added Water and becomes Short and Spicy. I would recommend to add a few drops but be careful not to drown the Whisky.

Rating: 83 

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 20.5

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 12 Years Sherry Wood matured in a mix of Ex-Oloroso and Ex-PX casks from Jerez in Spain. It is not Chill-Filtered and costs between 50 and 90 US Dollars depending on where you live (December 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good  

Conclusion: In some places you can buy this BenRiach for less than 50 US Dollars. At that price level it's a bargain if you fancy Sherried Speysiders. In other places however this Single Malt could cost you up to 90 US Dollars and I would sincerely hesitate to pay that kind of money for the 12 Years Sherry Wood. The Nose is certainly okay but on the Palate I find this Single Malt a bit boring with the Barley, the Marzipan, the Dried Fruits and the Christmas spices. But that's personal of course. More importantly however, it's too Hot. The Spirit clearly struggles with the ABV of 46%. There's also the Sour note that I'm not too fond of. To sum it up, the BenRiach 12 Years Sherry Wood is an interesting alternative if you are looking for a reasonably priced Sherried Speysider with an Age Statement. I must confess though that it's not quite my style!   

Jan van den Ende                                                             December 14, 2015

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