There might not be a more polarizing adult beverage category than Scotch whisky, but fans of the product are as plentiful as the various expressions in the marketplace. Benriach, a single malt Scotch whisky distillery based in the Speyside region of Scotland, recently unveiled the third edition of its Malting Season expression, which harkens back to the distillery’s roots.
Before I get into Benriach and Malting Season, I’ll be completely frank with readers that I didn’t always enjoy Scotch whisky. I didn’t know how to appreciate its nuances, and the bite of the liquid was always sharper than the American whiskies I was accustomed to And let’s not even get into being introduced to peat for the first time.
As I continue my journey, I now enjoy several Scotch whisky brands, and I’m coming across other fans who have aided in my appreciation for the spirit. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but if one remains stout and committed, it can open up a new world.
Benriach owns the distinction of being one of eight distilleries in Scotland that applies an older tradition of floor malting for its product. For those uninitiated, malting is the process of converting barley into sugar, which then becomes fermented and transformed into alcohol which later becomes the juice that turns into whisky.
So, by soaking the grain in water for it to germinate, the wet, or steeped, barley is then laid on a concrete or tile floor and is hand-turned with wooden shovels as heat begins to build underneath the grain. Naturally, this process has been sped along with better technologies but this is how it used to be done before things got fancier.
Under the watchful eye of Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie, Benriach’s third bottling of Malting Season applies the floor malting method for this expression. Using concerto barely, Malting Season is proofed down to 48.3% (98 proof) and matured in virgin oak and first-fill bourbon casks to bring out the color.
“Every year during ‘Maltings Season’ our team hand malt select barley onsite. This historic process pays tribute to our founder, John Duff, and the slow craft of his historic maltings which we continue to this day in the pursuit of exceptional flavor,” said Stewart Buchanan, Global Brand Ambassador at Benriach. “Each new addition of Malting Season uses carefully chosen barley types and individual bottling strengths, making each annual edition one of a kind in its own right.”
Benriach says of the Malting Season expression that the nose will feature barley, orchard fruit, wild bergamot, pear, and meadowsweet honey with the familiar malt on the end. On the palate, the brand boasts clementine, floral honey, and some spice from the barley with a long finish of apricot almond, and wild cherry.
Benriach Malting Season is listed at the suggested retail price of $165.
To learn more about the third edition of Malting Season, click here.
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