Whisky Review: BenRiach 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Brown-Forman. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

BenRiach has been making whisky for ages. Sort of. The distillery was originally founded during the first wave of major whisky investment, in 1898. Two years later, the Pattison Crash came down, where the dubious financial dealings of independent bottlers scared away the money that had built Scotland’s spirit industry. BenRiach was nearly a casualty, only their malting loft hanging on to supply next-door Longmorn.  

Nearly 60 years would pass before Glenlivet Distillers reopened this Speyside gem. The next 40 years brought aquisitions by larger and larger concerns. Sometimes the distillery would produce for only part of the year. Despite fits and starts, in 1994, they released the first single malt under the BenRiach label. Eight years later, the distillery closed again.

In 2004 came another re-opening, and this time the ownership were an independent consortium. BenRiach spent the next 12 years making a name for themselves by producing thoughtful whisky and aging in uncommon casks. This attracted the attention and the cash of US whiskey giant Brown-Forman.

Master blender Dr. Rachel Barrie came aboard shortly after Brown-Forman’s buyout. The experienced blender and chemist had grown several small whisky brands. At this point in her career, she described her practice as more of an art than a science. “Once you get that kind of scientific programming in your brain,” Dr. Barrie said, “it then becomes intuitive.” Dr. Barrie was honored for her skill when she became the first woman inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame in late 2018.  

Today’s tasting is the The BenRiach 25 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, produced the same year as their first whisky. It’s been aged in the “most exceptional casks,” including Oloroso sherry, bourbon, Burgundy and new oak.

Benriach 25 Years Old

Benriach 25 Years Old (image via Brown-Forman)

Tasting Notes: BenRiach 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Vital Stats: This spirit is 93.6 proof, made from 100% malted barley, aged for 25 years in a combination of Oloroso sherry, ex-bourbon, ex-Burgundy and new oak. Expect to pay, on average, $229 for a 750 mL.

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Appearance: The whisky is very clear, a medium honey color and forms fat, uniform legs.

Nose: The BenRiach 25 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky has a wonderful nose! It’s rich and sweet like Chinese almond cookies, malty, with the barest hint of smoke – like smoke that has traveled some distance to your nose. At the very end there’s a bit of green – hay starting to dry.

Palate: Smooth on the palate, balanced and round. I tasted dark cherries and vanilla poundcake. The long finish is all black tea tannins.

The Takeaway


This whisky is lovely. No two ways about it. I look forward to sampling more of Dr. Barrie's work.

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