Benriach Releases Two Specialty Scotch Single Malts

By Allyson Nichols / October 16, 2021

Benriach Single Malt Scotch Whisky recently announced the release of two new bottlings for the U.S. market – Malting Season and Smoke Season.

Benriach Malting Season, which we covered previously when it was first unveiled, is the first expression in a century to be produced entirely using barley malted from the distillery’s historic floor maltings. For each new edition of the bottling, Master Blender Rachel Barrie carefully selects the type of barley and bottling strength – in this case Concerto barley.

The floor malting method involves the barley being steeped in water, before it is spread across the malting room floor and turned by hand over several days to allow for optimum germination of the barley. The malting team then decides when the barley is ready to move to the kiln.

Benriach Smoke Season

Benriach Smoke Season and Benriach Malting Season (image via Benriach)

“Passed from distiller to distiller throughout the generations, the floor malting process keeps a traditional part of the whisky-making process alive with Benriach being one of only seven distilleries in Scotland to continue the practice of floor malting,” said Master Blender Rachel Barrie in a prepared statement.

Benriach Smoke Season is created using the distillery’s seasonal production techniques where peated spirit runs through its stills. The spirit 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. Highland peat is sourced from the mainland and derived from ancient trees and heather, providing a resulting sweet smoke interwoven with Benriach’s staple orchard fruit character, according to official tasting notes.

Read More Whiskey News
Bladnoch Distillery Announces Its 2021 Single Cask Scotch Whisky Collection

“Smoke Season is a special time of year in the distillery’s 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,” Barrie said. “At Benriach, we never stop exploring how fruit, oak barley and smoke aromatics intertwine and mature in our broad range of eclectic casks.”

Both bottlings are available in limited quantities through select retailers in the United States. Pricing and official tasting notes can be found below.

Malting SeasonTwo cask matured:  Bourbon and Virgin Oak

  • 48.7% ABV, $148.99 suggested retail price (750ml)
  • Color: Barley gold
  • Nose: Barley sugar, almond fudge and poached orchard apple
  • Palate: Vanilla and honeyed pear
  • Finish: Lasting nuttiness of slowly kilned malt
Smoke SeasonTwo cask matured:  Bourbon and Virgin Oak
  • 52.8% ABV, $71.99 suggested retail price (750ml)
  • Color: Burnished gold
  • Nose: Barbecue smoked fruit in a pine forest
  • Palate: Sweet caramel smoke and cinnamon-spiced roasted apple
  • Finish: Charred orange peel and hickory