BenRiach (peated) 5 Battlehill

Thanks to /u/kinohead for the sample.

So I’ve had a good amount of BenRiach. I can honestly say I enjoy the distillery… when it’s peated. When it isn’t, we don’t get along as well. However, as one of the distilleries that like to play with casks or different types of whisky or single casks, they’re fun.

But in looking at my review archive, I noticed I haven’t had many younger malts reviewed. There are some whiskies that I say need the age (Mortlach). But can I say that about BenRiach? I personally love the 10-year entry.

Enter BenRiach (peated) 5 Battlehill, a very young Scotch. But hey, if Kilchoman can regularly release five-year-old Scotch, why can’t BenRiach? Probably because they specifically created a yeast strain made to excel, but that’s all facts and stuff and we’re talking here and it doesn’t make me sound as cool.

Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Price: $80 USD at Total Wine

Region: Speyside

Bottled: December 9th, 2016

Cask Type: Oak Casks

Number of bottles: 990

Abv: 54%

Colour: 5Y 8/8

Nose: BBQ sauce, brine, cereal, raisin

Interesting initial big smoke/sweet notes. Really quite strong. That somewhat stops right at BBQ sauce. Tons of smoke/molasses/acidity and then we’re good.

Water brings out more richness. Nothing too harsh here.

Taste: Brown sugar, wheat, caramel, cinnamon, sour cream

Watery texture. Really odd to have something at this percentage and have it be this light on the tongue.

On the other hand, we’ve gone from a solo act of BBQ sauce complexity to multiple aspects of peat punching slightly above “vegetal smoke”. Aka it’s not just a bunch of peat in this case, which is impressive, however, don’t come in expecting the taste to like a super developed peated whisky (see their 10 Curiositas for that)

Finish: Wheat, anise, tobacco, green banana

Interesting finish, but the youth shines through here. Really raw, really light flavours here. The green banana sticks out like an elephant in Times Square.

Nice wheat taste though. Let’s just assume you’ve read me write about not liking the taste of tobacco in the past, not really knowing how to describe the intricate flavour and all that. It’s there, it’s not too strong, and really shouldn’t have gotten a paragraph, save I know a friend would call me out on it so I wrote it.

Conclusion: Water brings out some nice funk, but it’s overall still too young. I can see why it was picked. We’re all looking for more and more, demand has spiked, and this tastes a lot older than similar five-year-old whiskies.

That all said, I’d probably buy the 10 Curiositas over this specific bottling every time. While this goes in a different direction, it’s really hard to compete with a standard OB. The Ardbeg issue, if you will. End of the day this was interesting and nice. If you’re a BenRiach fanboy (like me) then you’ll want to try this. Otherwise, it’s debatable.

74/100

Scotch review #1113, Speyside review #316, Whisky review #1730

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