In 2021 Benriach launched two new editions called Malting Season and Smoke Season, annual NAS special editions designed to showcase floor malting techniques and the use of peated malt, both of which are rare in Speyside.
Now the second editions of each whisky are here, so let’s dive in.
Benriach Malting Season 2022 – Another banger from Benriach: Sweet on the nose, bursting with malty cereal notes, just as the name of the whisky would suggest. Some slightly grassy elements linger underneath, again showing lemon peel if you breathe deeply enough. Chewy and crisp on the palate, with notes of sesame cookies, crushed almonds, and fresh-cut bread. Delightfully dessert-like on the fade-out, hinting at mint and lemon peel, ever so slightly green on the back end. No major shifts in tone from the 2021 edition. 97.8 proof. A- / $170
Benriach Smoke Season 2022 – This year’s Smoke Season hits the same abv as last year, but cuts a considerably less interesting profile on the whole. Smoky indeed but quite sweet with a few citrus notes, the aroma is a bit overblown in multiple dimensions, offering a cotton candy character that pairs unsatisfyingly with all the chimney smoke. The palate however is sharp, peppery, and quite acidic, starting with a salty creosote note and moving into an odd coconut note, finishing with a character that comes across as unbalanced at best, a bit acrid at worst. Stick with Islay — or try last year’s bottling. 105.6 proof. B- / $53 [BUY IT NOW FROM FROOTBAT]