BenRiach Birnie Moss
BenRiach Birnie Moss, NAS, 48 %
A while back BenRiach Distillery released the BenRiach Birnie Moss. An intensely peated whisky, as it says on the label. Quite unusual for a Speysider, but we are getting quite used to the unusual in the whisky world these days, so we will just go with it and see where we end up.
The name Birnie Moss is taken from a an area of windswept moorland situated close to the BenRiach Distillery. The phenol level is given at 35 ppm, which is an Islay style phenol level. No further details about the product are revealed on the distillery web site, which is a pity. We do so love our nerdy whisky facts, don't we?
You can get the BenRiach Birnie Moss in Norway at NOK 790 (914401), and in the UK at less than GBP 30. No listing for this whisky in Sweden, which is weird - they do love their intensely peated 'over there'.
Nose (21/25): Lots of vanilla and sweet, rich wood smoke. Sweet licorice, and a whiff of ripe apples. Not a whole lot going on, but it is rich and full-on. Sure signs that this is rather young, but at the same time it is pleasant enough. I would not have guessed Speyside whisky in a blind tasting...
Taste (18/25): Burning, raw and ... I would say bordering on harsh. Intensely peated, for sure. We are talking ashes, and wood smoke that is bitter. Actually it reminds me of acrid smoke.
Finish (18/25): Relatively short and punchy finish. It is just as brutal all the way. I am picking up notes of 'burnt perfume' towards the end - if you know what I mean ... but then how could you, even I have not experienced burnt perfume. But I have a vivid imagination. Remember the old school aerosol hair spray cans (hair lacquer)? Remember how they smelled? Well, the finish on this whisky tastes exactly as those hair sprays smelled. Very strange!
Balance (18/25): I have heard others liken this to peated new make, but I have to disagree. There is definitely oak influence here, but it seems just as harsh as the peated spirit.
Sláinte! - Thomas