- 92 Proof
- 12 Years
There aren't too many Speyside malts that feature peat. Benromach does regularly, and other distilleries seem to do so only in special or limited releases, for the most part. I'm sure there are others out there and I'm just not aware of them, but the fact of the matter is that Speyside is not exactly known for its smoke bombs.
And, I'm not that familiar with Benriach. I don't believe I've ever even sampled Benriach prior to enjoying this bottle. But, when I saw it on the shelf, I was intrigued not only by the fact that it was a peated Speyside single malt, but that it had been matured in three casks, including sherry and Marsala casks. That wonderful mix of peat and sweet is right up my alley, and with a cool name like "The Smoky Twelve," I knew I had to give it a try at some point.
On the nose the smoke wasn't nearly as big as in some Islay scotches. It was on the lighter side, giving room for other notes of honey and caramel. There was also a nice butterscotch malt note as well and some bright orange citrus. The sherry and Marsala cask influence came through as well, but in the form of an artificial raspberry note, like raspberry flavored hard candy.
The flavor matched, in a way, but also diverged quite a bit. Notably, one of the first flavors that hit the front of my tongue was an unexpected almond liqueur note, with a tangy richness that was nowhere to be found on the nose.
This also had a malty backbone with a light black pepper spice that lingered through the finish. That bright orange note from the nose was also there, kind of like a fresh orange peel. Luckily the wine cask influence didn't lean towards that fake raspberry note, but rather provided a very welcome fresh strawberry note, and all of these flavors seemed to work quite well with one another.
I do wish the peat were dialed up a bit, but that is certainly a personal preference. I did get those iodine notes and a bit of salinity in my glass, and that salinity also seemed to linger along with the black pepper and a hint of the strawberry. But the peat smoke seemed to fade a bit.
I know there are older expressions of this, and I just may need to give them a go at some point. But, I'm glad I satisfied my curiosity with this one. I did want a bit more, but it was still a tasty dram!
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