Last fall, Benriach released the third installment of its limited-edition Malting Season single malt whisky, but this time without its non-age-stated partner, Smoke Season. It is unclear if we’ll see that one return in the future, but for the time being we’ll have to make do with just the one. As a reminder, Malting Season is meant to highlight Benriach’s use of floor maltings (for this release only), a bygone and laborious malting process in use by only one other Speyside distillery. At the time of the line’s launch back in 2021, it was suggested that different barley varietals could be used in future releases, but this third edition, like the two that preceded it, has been made with Concerto barley. Likewise, the maturation has continued the trend of dual cask aging in ex-bourbon and American virgin oak casks. The abv, however, is the lowest of the line to date. We’ve enjoyed the pair of past releases. Let’s see if Benriach can nail three in a row.
The nose is once again sweet and malty, chock full of cooked cereal notes. The virgin oak cask comes across a little clearer than past releases with plenty of fresh sawn lumber and concentrated vanilla notes that only serve to enhance the freshness of the aroma. Underneath it all, a bit of straw and faint lemon peel continues an ongoing theme. The palate is once again remarkably crisp and clean with a lightly oily body that shows a bit less of the chewy texture from the second edition. Elegant notes of vanilla cream, clover honey, and almond cookies offer an impressive depth of flavor to savor across the sip. A bit of barley spice accentuates a gentle, even warmth and propels things into a sweet, silky finish accented by notes of minted syrup, stone fruit, and lemon candies. As Chris said of the second edition, another banger.
A- / $165 / benriachdistillery.com