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BenRiach The Original Twelve Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Paul NeedhamLeave a Comment

Benriach The Original Twelve Scotch Bottle Photo
Sherry rich maturation brings incredible depth to this expression and layers of dark berry fruits. It encaptures the flavours of Benriach in the autumn.
Rachel Barrie - Benriach Master Blender

JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS

Benriach The Original Twelve Scotch

BOTTLE DETAILS

  • DISTILLER: Benriach Distillery

  • MASH BILL: 100% Malted Barley

  • Cooperage: Three cask matured in sherry, bourbon, and port casks

  • AGE: 12 years

  • YEAR: 2020

  • PROOF: 92 Proof (46% ABV)

  • MSRP: $50-55

  • BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

NOSE: Caramel  |  Corn  |  Spiced Cherries  |  Toasted Oak

TASTE: Rye Spice  |  Oak  |  Faint Sweet Honey  |  Green Apple

FINISH: Medium with lingering sweetness and some grain

SHARE WITH: While young, this is a blend to share with your “drink curious” not too judgy friends.

WORTH THE PRICE: I found Ingram an interesting expression. I am generally a Midwest Grain Products fan, and I like to support craft distillers/blenders with innovative ideas. With all that being said, at over $70 for a less than 4-year-old, sourced, blended whiskey, this would be a tough sell for me.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This whiskey is not a bust. It has interest and depth that you wouldn’t expect by its age. The blending is done well and with the innovative take on aging, I will give it a BAR rating. Try it first, if you can, before you buy. In the fifty dollar range, I would be tempted to go bottle.

OVERALL: O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.

I have an issue with brands using invented or unrelated stories to support the “marketing” of their spirits. I don’t see that as an issue with O.H. Ingram. They have family history tied to the river and actually age on floating barges. They don’t hide the source, age, or mash bills of their product. Starting from typically quality rye and bourbon distillate from MGP in Indiana, aging for over three years and blended well, has produced a straight whiskey. It has a surprising depth for a young age. I found it drinkable neat, better with ice, but not particularly suitable for cocktails. My only issue with this product is the price, which is high for what it is. Understanding that the cost of sourcing and barreling probably drives this cost. If you find it in a bar, or you have the resource and drinking curiosity, I would not dissuade you from giving this one a try.

NOSE: Orange | Pound Cake | Light Berries | Cocoa

TASTE: Honey | Toasted Nuts | Cocoa Again | Apple Butter

FINISH: Medium | A bit shorter and more dry than the Original Ten | Spearmint | Granny Smith Apple

SHARE WITH: Someone who liked the Original Ten but would rather drink a 12-year-old scotch.

WORTH THE PRICE: In a vacuum, probably. At $5-10 more than The Original Ten, I don't think so.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I think this is a Bar all day for me. I don't really have a negative thing to say about it, but it's just too similar to the Original Ten to me to justify the extra money on the bottle of juice that's 2 years older.

OVERALL: I've mentioned before in my reviews that I work really hard not to look at the brand's tasting notes for a bottle I'm reviewing until I've tasted it myself. Usually I pick up the stronger notes that brand advertises and differ on the more subtle flavors. Every once in a while, I write down the notes exactly as the brand does, which gives me a nice sense of undeserved pride.

I've had a hard time remembering a time when my tasting notes differed so widely from the brand's own for a bottle I actually liked (usually when the difference is this great, it's a dumpster fire).  The sample bottle I received tasted simply like The Original Ten that had a couple extra years on it. I did not pick up virtually any of the sugar or dark fruit notes that a sherried whisky or one aged in port casks should impart. To the contrary, I found the finish quite tart and dry. That being said, I quite liked this bottle and wouldn't want people to think that it's not worth a taste. Of the non-smoked whiskies coming out of Benriach right now, though, I believe The Original Ten to be a better value.


Bourbon Flavor Wheel & Tasting Mats

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Disclaimer: Benriach provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sr. Contributor |

A self-made whiskey drinker, Paul’s journey began with Bourbon: America’s National Spirit. Over a decade later, his shelves now contain whiskies from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Japan. A life-long educator, what Paul appreciates most about this community is the regular opportunities he has both to teach and to learn while enjoying a drink with new and old friends!
Read Paul's full profile.

About the Author

Paul Needham

Twitter

A self-made whiskey drinker, Paul’s journey began with Bourbon: America’s National Spirit. Over a decade later, his shelves now contain whiskies from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Japan. A life-long educator, what Paul appreciates most about this community is the regular opportunities he has both to teach and to learn while enjoying a drink with new and old friends! Read Paul's full profile.