Colour: vibrant golden yellow.
Nose: fine, fresh. A rooty, salty and oily peat provides lots of nuance to the initial nose. Allowed to breathe, it takes on milky (coconut), fruity (apple, pineapple), floral (lily of the valley) and roasted (coffee) tones. Gradually, beeswax, acacia honey and fresh walnut coat the taste buds. At this point, the aromatic palette evokes an iconic single malt from the south-east of Islay.
Palate: lively yet creamy. The same oily and earthy peat drives an extremely delicate attack on the palate. The same attack is both very exotic (passion fruit, mango) and chocolatey. On the mid-palate, notes of black olive, smoky bacon and smoked salmon highlight the earthy, maritime character of this Benriach. Heady florals (broom, mimosa, iris) beautifully punctuate the very end of the palate.
Finish: long, rich. At the start of the finish, soot coats the palate. It brings with it light particles of hydrocarbon (diesel). Note that malted barley now plays a leading role in the development of the flavour palette. On the retro-nasal olfaction, its wonderful bitterness brings out herbaceous (sage, chervil, bay leaf), fruity (Mirabelle plum, greengage plum), vegetal (straw) and liquorice notes. As well as being oily, fishy and gamy (Viande des Grisons), the empty glass very clearly evokes gentian root.