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Benriach Distillery Releases Smoke Season, A Double Cask Peated Single Malt

Benriach Distillery, the Elgin, Scotland-based makers of single malts that’s owned by Brown-Forman, recently released Smoke Season, a small batch expression cooked up by their master blender Dr. Rachel Barrie.

“At Benriach we’re always looking to push the boundaries of what is possible in Speyside single malt,” Dr. Barrie said in a prepared statement. “Smoke Season is a special time of year in the distillery calendar, and this new addition gives both the whisky novice and connoisseur the opportunity to discover the uniquely rich, sweet and smoky character of Benriach single malt, crafted in Speyside, a whisky-making region rarely associated with peated malt.”

Benriach Smoke Season
Benriach Smoke Season (image via Benriach)

The process uses Highland peat sourced from the Scottish mainland, and derived from heather and ancient trees, to infuse their whisky with a smoky flavor during the distillation process. The liquid was then double cask matured in both American virgin oak and bourbon barrels.

“With intensely peated spirit batch distilled every year, we never stop exploring how the fruit and smoke aromatics intertwine and mature in a range of eclectic oak casks, either amplifying or transforming the perception of peat,” Dr. Barrie continued. “Smoke Season is the result of exploring 100% intensely peated malt, batch distilled and matured in first fill bourbon barrels combined with a high proportion of charred and toasted American Virgin oak casks. American virgin oak and bourbon barrel maturation develop sweet caramel smoke and cinnamon spiced roasted apple, with hints of charred orange peel and hickory.”

The release of Benriach’s 52.8% ABV Smoke Season is another step forward for the distillery which, last year, introduced a new core range of single malts and updated the design for their bottles. They’re also keeping a select batch of archival bottles from their recent past in circulation for collectors, as well as three expressions only available at global travel retailers.

Benriach Smoke Season is slowly making its way into the global markets, with an SRP of £53 (about $74 USD), and will be available through U.S. retailers starting in September 2021.

Robert Ham

Robert Ham is an arts/culture journalist from Portland, OR whose work has been featured in DownBeat, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Village Voice.

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